Australia keen to invest in Sri Lanka phosphate, graphite, ilmenite sectors: High Commissioner



ECONOMYNEXT –Australian firms are interested in investing in Sri Lanka, particularly in resource sector, but a more conducive investment environment is needed, High Commissioner Paul Stevens said.

Sri Lanka is looking to foreign direct investment as a factor in taking the country out of an economic crises triggered by excessive deployment of ‘macro-economic policy’ involving fiscal and monetary stimulus.

Sri Lanka is also planning to draw up a new foreign investment law as well as speeding up the processes within the Board of Investment.

Sri Lanka has to “continue to work towards a more conducive foreign investment environment” High Commissioner Stevens told a forum in Colombo, where Australia supported training journalists in macro-economics, with the central bank and Sri Lanka Press Institute.

“There are a number of Australian businesses making substantial investments Sri Lanka in certain sectors,” he said.

Australian firms are interested in investing in phosphate, graphite and ilmenite sectors, he said. Australia has a strong mining sector.

Australia also made economic reforms to boost investments and the economic. At one time Australian economy was also “not competitive and efficient” as it should have been and the country went on a reform drive involving de-regulation and changing systems and process.

It was not necessarily an easy process, as some sectors faced more competition. Australia has about the same population as Sri Lanka but the country has monetary stability.

Sri Lanka privatized some graphite mines in the 1980s, and one is listed in the Colombo Stock Exchange and now controlled by a foreign firm.A state-run firm is involved in collecting ilmenite sands that wash up in the Eastern Coast of Sri Lanka.

Attempts to bring a private mining firm into phosphate about two decades ago however failed amid resource nationalism as well as environmental concerns, observers say.


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