Sri Lanka is an important gold nation in Asia. For years, the country has been recording increased gold production with most of its gold being produced by small-scale artisanal miners.
With the growth in the value of gold in the international market, the mining sector is quite lucrative for investors and Sri Lanka is no exception. This is particularly because the government has been working with private sector companies to help growth the country’s mining sector.
Historic Gold Mining in Sri Lanka
Gold in Sri Lanka dates back many thousands of years ago. The earliest gold finds in the country to have ever been recorded was in about 8th century AD. This is in reference to the largest cast Ingot of gold recovered during the Abeyagiri excavations. During the Dutugemunu period in the second century BC, gold was mined in a plain near the Acaraviyya-gama where gold nuggets of different sizes were found.
The major gold rush in the recent history is the Mahaoya gold rush of the 1850s. This was started by Bradly, a British seaman who produced gold dust in Maha-oya near Colombo in the late 1840s. This spurred further migration to the area with more miners venturing out in search for gold.
Increased cases of deadly fever and frequent floods cut short the adventures of many miners during that time. Many lost their lives in search of their fortune and treasure in Sri Lanka.
Artisanal Miners on the Kelaniya River
More recently gold has been found on the Kelaniya River in the region near Colombo. With this find more locals are now actively engaged in artisanal gold prospecting along rivers and other river basins throughout the country.
Alluvial gold is being found in many of the waterways of this small country, and there is likely to be much more gold found in the near future with the high price of gold and more miners setting out in search or gold.
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Considerable Gold Resources in Sri Lanka
Studies show that Sri Lanka has one of the largest gold deposits in Asia. Although limited commercial mining has taken place, the country has a significant amount of gold throughout its territories. Many of these are alluvial deposits that can be recovered by fairly simple mining methods.
According to a recent geological survey, there are gold deposits in Horana, Akuressa, Deniyaya and Nilwala-ganaga. In fact, the Gem and Jewelry Authority found gold in sand samples taken for Deniyaya recently. There were also a high amount of Uranium and Titanium in the samples.
Reports also indicate the presence of a 10 by 250 miles mineralization belt between Ambalantota and Seruwawila. This are rich gold resources that are yet to be exploited fully and offers a great opportunity for anyone interested in investing in the country’s gold sector. The region is also rich in other minerals such as magnetite, copper, iron and cobalt among others.
The Geological Survey and Mines Bureau of Sri Lanka have recorded gold finds in Kiriibbanara, Balangoda and several places close to the Manik and Walawe Rivers. There are also gold deposits in the central and southern parts of the country. Most of the gold in rivers and the concordant quart reefs is being mined by artisanal miners throughout the country.
The artisanal mining makes up the bulk of the country’s gold production.
Increase in Foreign Mining Investment
Today Sri Lanka is offering more attractive liberal regulations and tax incentives than it has in the past, with the aim of luring foreign investors to help revamp its gold mining sector. The government seeks to overhauls its investment infrastructure and to open up its mining sector to foreign business after several years of civil war.
This is a step in the right direction for the country as this will help put the country of Sri Lanka on the world map of major gold producers. With the nearby country of India being the world’s largest consumer of refined gold, new sources of gold on the market would be welcomed, particularly by India and China.
The country has great gold deposits, but not much of commercial mining is being done due to the effects of past civil war that scared off investors. With the return of peace, the country is now ready to take its place among the world’s major gold producers. With the right investments, it is quite possible that Sri Lanka could become one of the leading gold producers in Asia.