The graphite industry in Sri Lanka extends far back in history to the point that it is an integral part of the local folk culture. "Miniran" in Sinhala, the graphite mines and the lives of the miners have been immortalized in many a poem and a story. Although the island of Sri Lanka was not directly involved in either of the World Wars, being a colony it was not completely removed from it either. According to historical records, approximately 35,000 metric tonnes of natural graphite was exported per year during World War I and World War II.
Although the industry has been alive and thriving for over two centuries, few are aware that Sri Lanka boasts of the purest form of graphite in the world, vein graphite (>95%). These veins of graphite vary between veinlets of less than 1mm thickness to giant veins of over 1m thickness. Sri Lanka is the only place in the world where vein graphite is produced in commercial quantities.
With the end of a thirty-decade civil war, the country is now looking at dusting off the ashes and making its mark on the global economy and the market. The Government considered graphite to be one of the leading mineral products in this endeavour that has the potential to create significant foreign investments from the private sector.