concerns in Srilanka
THE DANGERS OF INDUSTRIAL GEMSTONE MINING
Sri Lanka is a developing country, where people have access to free school and medicine, and extreme poverty is rarely seen. Politically, however, the system is failing. Sri Lanka is dominated by powerful businessmen and politicians, and the country suffers from gender inequality and corruption.
The once artisanal gemstone mining industry – which was run to the benefit of all – is rapidly changing. Mechanical excavators were previously illegal as they cause environmental damage. This is no longer the case, and landowners are increasingly being granted licences for excavator-based operations.
This change may be due to disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic; it may simply be the result of corruption – or a combination of the two. There is no doubt, however, that it has significantly impacted the entire mining industry in Sri Lanka.
Traditional mining practices gave work to many, benefitting the entire community, and kept the land undisturbed. Now environmental concerns are ignored, and profits from mining are lining the pockets of the few.