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Tuesday May 30th, 2023

Sri Lanka’s Ceylon Graphene Technologies ups capacity as advanced batteries are readied for sale

ECONOMYNEXT – Ceylon Graphene Technologies, a start-up nano technology firm in Sri Lanka is expanding capacity as industrial batteries made with the advanced material are about to hit the market, an official said.

CGT has developed technology to convert vein graphite into graphene, a thin carbon lattice which has a high commercial value.

It is a joint venture between Sri Lanka Institute of Nanotechnology (SLINTEC), a research body backed by the government and private partners.

Colombo-based LOLC group owns 85 percent of CGT  and SLINTEC 15 percent.

While vein graphite sells for about 1.2 to 1.8 dollars a kilogram, graphene can sell for around 3,000 dollars per kilogram, Chief Executive of CGT Manju Gunawardana said.

Gunawardana also heads advanced technology research at the LOLC group.

About two million US dollars had so far been invested in the project.

CGT is getting vein graphite from mines mainly from Kahatagaha, Bogala and Ragedara graphite mines. Sri Lanka has some of the purest vein high crystalline vein graphite in the world with 98 percent carbon purity.

Gunawardana said, Exide, an Indian battery maker would be among the first customers of CGT who will make an end-user product.

A graphene applied lead-acid industrial battery has already been developed, which outperforms conventional batteries. It will be commercially rolled out in the near future, he said.

CGT now has a plant that can produce about three tons of graphene a year.

In April additional capacity will come on stream which will boost annual output to eight tons, Gunawardana said.

“We are manufacturing according to the orders we get,” he said. “We will expand according the demand.”

CGT produced Graphine Oxide (GO) and reduced Graphine Oxide (rGO).

Graphene can also be used in electric vehicles, 2-D materials, sensors, printed electrical wearables and paints Gunewardene said. (Colombo/Feb07/2020 – Update II)

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Sri Lanka cabinet nod for President to discuss cancelled LRT with Japan

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Cabinet of Ministers approved a proposal by President Ranil Wickremesinghe discuss resuming a Japan funded. Light Rail Transit (LRT) project cabinet spokesman said, as the island nation is in the process of mending ties with Tokyo.

However, any such deals are likely to take place after the debt restructuring and Sri Lanka starts to repay its foreign loans to come out of default, analysts say.

Former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa unilaterally cancelled the 1.5 billion US dollar LRT and East Container Terminal (ECT) projects in 2021. Japan agreed to fund the LRT project while it was one of the tripartite members of the ECT project along with India and Sri Lanka.

The abrupt cancellation hit the diplomatic ties between the two countries and Sri Lankan government officials have said Japan had given the project to Sri Lanka at a very lower financing cost.

President Wickremesinghe returned from Japan late last week after having met top officials of the Japanese government including its prime minister.

“In recent history, due to the stopping of several agreements and proposals suddenly, President Wickremesinghe went to Japan after creating the background to clear some of the worries we have,” Cabinet Spokesman Bandula Gunawardena told the weekly media briefing.

“Before he went, he got the approval from the cabinet to resume the discussion on the light railway project. He got the approval from the cabinet to get parliament approval for bilateral agreements signed or any other investments project. Any change or cancellation of a project could be done only with the approval of the parliament.”

Japan has backed Sri Lanka under Wickremesinghe’s presidency after the island nation declared sovereign debt default. (Colombo/May 30/2023)

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Sri Lanka to tighten grip on television with broadcast law

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka has formulated a broadcast authority law to regulate electronic media which will be made public soon, Cabinet spokesman Minister Bandula Gunawardana said.

“The draft prepared by a cabinet subcommittee under Justice Minister Wijedasa Rajapaksa has discussed with various parties will be given to all media institutions and broadcast media,” Gunawardana said.

“We do not have to hide or force anyone. A legal framework that can be acceptable to all for all sectors.”

“In a week or two Minister Wijedasa will discuss with state and private stakeholders.”

At the moment Sri Lanka has issued frequencies without conforming to an “international procedures”, he said.

In Sri Lanka television frequencies are issued under a state television act.

Successive administrations in Sri Lanka has since around 1980 mis-used state television duopoly which including for conducting elections according to critics.

Private television as well a raio emerged around the 1990s and has since over shadowed state media.

There have been calls by ruling party politicians from time to time to control private media. There is now calls to control social media.

At a Committee on Public Accounts meeting of the Department of Government Information, ruling coalition legislators called for regulation of television content. (Colombo/May30/2023)

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Sri Lanka rupee at 296.75/297.25 to dollar at open, bond yields steady

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee opened at 297 /297.50 against the US dollar in the spot market on Monday, while bond yields were steady, dealers said.

The rupee closed at 296.75 /297.25 to the US dollar on Monday after opening around 296.50 /297.50 rupees.

A bond maturing on 01.09.2027 was quoted at 26.50/75 percent steady from Friday’s close at 26.50/65 percent.

Sri Lanka’s rupee is appreciating amid negative private credit which has reduced outflows after the central bank hiked rates and stopped printing money. (Colombo/ May 29/2023)

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