Sri Lanka acquires latest hi-tech to enrich graphite to breakthrough graphene

Thursday, 23 August 2018 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen (left), Sabaragamuwa Province Chief Minister Maheepala Herath (right) and Graphit Kropfmuhl GmbH Managing Director/CEO Thomas Junker (seated back row - seen at centre) await the commencement of “Intelligence in Graphite” session on 14 August at Cinnamon Grand, Colombo.



Sri Lanka’s mining and quarrying sector packs greater potentials in revenues and capacity. Sri Lanka now has the latest technology to create the breakthrough wonder material ‘graphene’ from its own, high purity graphite deposits.

“The Government wishes to increase the share of mining in GDP. Lankan graphite producers are likely to see even better times in future,” said Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen on 14 August in Colombo, addressing an evening session themed ‘Intelligence in Graphite’ organised by Bogala Graphite Lanka PLC, a subsidiary of Graphit Kropfmuhl GmbH (part of AMG N.V.), which has mining operations in Africa and Asia. Joining Minister Bathiudeen at the session were Graphit Kropfmuhl GmbH Managing Director/CEO Thomas Junker, Bogala Graphite Lanka Chairman Vijaya Malalasekara, Bogala Graphite Lanka CEO Amila Jayasinghe, Sabaragamuwa Province Chief Minister Maheepala Herath, several Parliamentarians, as well as local and international academics and experts in mining. Mines of Bogala Graphite are located within the Sabaragamuwa Province.

“The Ministry of Industry and Commerce too contributes to the mining GDP of Sri Lanka. For example, Kahatagaha Graphite Lanka Limited (KGLL), under my Ministry, is a fully Government-owned company. It has Sri Lanka’s leading underground mine, producing high quality graphite above 99% carbon purity,” said Minister Bathiudeen

Minister Bathiudeen further added: “From 2006 to 2017 the total production of graphite by KGLL is more than 8000 metric tonnes, and it exported 6300 MT. For 2018, KGLL has a Production Target of 840 MT. As you may know, graphene, which is the world’s new breakthrough material, is produced from graphite. I believe that Lankan graphite producers such as Bogala Graphite and Kahatagaha Graphite therefore are likely to see even better times in future. 

“I have been given to understand about some issues faced by the Sri Lankan mining sector. The mining licenses issued have to be renewed every year, is one complaint. Annual renewal is maintained by the Government to safeguard our mining sector. However, it appears that international investors welcome less frequent renewals. Global investors also welcome specialised mining licenses rather than general licenses in Sri Lanka.  The sector also likes to receive funding for small mines by the Gamperaliya program. It is encouraging that the mining sector is actively voicing these issues. I am pleased of the active nature of mining sector calling for positive reforms and that is a good sign since the Government wishes to increase the share of mining in GDP.”

During the 14 August session, experts showed that thanks to a spinoff firm of SLINTEC, Sri Lanka now has the latest graphene processing technology, which can produce multi-layered graphene from locally mined graphite at half the price (around $6000) of the current international price (at $12000) liberally quoted by foreign graphene suppliers who reign in the global markets.

 ‘Mining and quarrying activity’ contributes nearly 2.7% to Sri Lanka’s GDP. In the first quarter of 2018, the output value of mining and quarrying was an estimated $ 625 million with a reported 0.6% growth rate compared to Q1 of 2017. The sub-sector ‘Mining of construction material’ is the highest contributor to the overall ‘Mining and quarrying activity’ (large scale constructions such as the Port City creating the demand).