Kahatagaha Graphite Mine (කහටගහ මිනිරන් පතල)

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Kollangala shaft of Kahatagaha Kollangala Mine - The tall chimney is of the old steam boiler which is not in use
Kollangala shaft of Kahatagaha Kollangala Mine – The tall chimney is of the old steam boiler which is not in use
image from “The Graphite Industry in Sri Lanka” (1987)

Graphite, once known primarily for its use in the staid old writing tool, the pencil, is now being predicted to be the next black gold of the world with technology applications using graphite being developed around the world; the most significant being the growth of EV vehicles running on lithium-ion batteries which uses graphite as a raw material.

According to   “Industrial Minerals & Rocks: Commodities, Markets, and Uses” 7th edition published in 2006 and edited by Jessica Elzea Kogel, Sri Lanka has the largest deposits of Vein Graphite in the world.  Almost all high-quality vein graphite comes from Sri Lanka in the form of lumps and production is primarily by hand cobbling and hand sorting. Sri Lankan Graphite is highly graphitised and the best grades are completely graphitised.

Kahatagaha Kollangala Mine
Kahatagaha Kollangala Mine
image from “The Graphite Industry in Sri Lanka” (1987)

According to the report “The Graphite Industry in Sri Lanka” by Mine Geologist N.P. Wijayananda published in 1987;

The Kahatagaha – Kolongaha (K/K) graphite mine is situated 27 km northeast of Kurunegala along the Kurunegala – Matale road. The mine area is about 220 meters above mean sea level. The mineralization is entirely of the vein type with a regular east-west strike direction and southerly dip. The vein pattern is completely different to that in Bogala Mines.

The Kahatagaha/Kolongaha/Walakatahena – named subsequently K/K mine graphite extraction was started in 1872 and until now (1987) more than 300,000 tons have been produced with a monthly production of about 300 tons. The present mining complex is the result of the merger of three mines.

Kahatagaha shaft of Kahatagaha Kollangala Mine
Kahatagaha shaft of Kahatagaha Kollangala Mine
image from “The Graphite Industry in Sri Lanka” (1987)

The deepest level of the mine is 2000 feet (610 m). Access is by two shafts; the Kahatagaha shaft has a depth of 330 ft (101 m).  Below these depths, access is by a series of winzes equipped with small air-powered hoists.

The mine produces high-quality graphite as follows (1987 statistics) ;

97%-99% carbon: 30% of total production
95%-97% carbon: 20% of total production
90%-92% carbon: 10% of total production
90%-92% carbon: 10% of total production
Gal Katu: 5% of total production

The mine complex initially started by the British was purchased by the family of Sir John Kothalawala during the first half of the 20th century and was taken over by the government in 1972. With the nationalization of the mine, it faced several problems with mismanagement and eventually became a non-functional mine.

In 2002, it was reviewed again and by 2012, it was reported to be producing about 50 tons per month.

Also See

Map of  Kahatagaha Graphite Mine

Please click on the button below to load the Dynamic Google Map (ගූගල් සිතියම් පහලින්)

The map above also shows other places of interest within a approximately 20 km radius of the current site. Click on any of the markers and the info box to take you to information of these sites

Zoom out the map to see more surrounding locations using the mouse scroll wheel or map controls.

Travel Directions to Kahatagaha Graphite Mine

Route from Colombo to Kahatagaha Graphite Mine
Through : Katunayake Expressway – Minuwangoda – Giriulla – Narammala – Kurunegala
Distance :  133 km
Travel time : 3  hours
Driving directions : see on google map

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