Environmental Repercussions of Gem Mining in Sri Lanka


  • P. E. S. M. Jayawardhana
  • C. D. Udawattha




Environmental repercussions, Gem mining techniques, emedial measures, Gemming


As an industry, gem mining has both negative and positive impacts on economic and social perspectives. But this has generated a severe negative impact on the environment and health perspectives. Most of these impacts cannot be recovered for an extended period of time while causing the deaths of all living organisms on Earth. This study has portrayed the environmental repercussions of traditional and mechanical gem mining techniques practiced by the gem miners in Ratnapura while discussing the remedies that can be adapted to overcome those environmental impacts with the objective of identifying the environmental repercussion of gem industry in Ratnapura district. The population of this study consisted of the gem mining lands in Ratnapura and out of that selected the five of tunnel gem mine land, backhoe gem mine land and river gem mines land as the sample of this study. Collection of the data was done through the observation and discussions conducted with the gem miners to identify the environmental repercussions of gem mining activities. The analysis of the data was done as a narrative analysis of qualitative research. As a major gem mining country Sri Lanka practiced three techniques for gem mining as tunnel gem mining, backhoe gem mining and river gem mining. Although there is a huge contribution to the economic development of the country, these techniques have several impacts on the environment and many other sources. As an environmental impact there are the contamination of water, erosion of soil, deforestation, losing the nutrients of the soil, loss of animal habitats, loss of biodiversity and many more. To avoid these impacts miners can adapt environmentally friendly methods for gem mining and it is necessary to regulate the mining activities by the government to reduce the impact of mining activities.

© 2022 The Authors. Published by Department of Estate Management and Valuation, University of Sri Jayewardenepura

Keywords: Environmental repercussions; Gem mining techniques; Remedial measures; Gemming

Author Biographies

P. E. S. M. Jayawardhana

Undergraduate, Department of Estate Management and Valuation, USJ, Sri Lanka

C. D. Udawattha

Senior Lecturer, Department of Estate Management and Valuation, USJ, Sri Lanka