Gem mining regulations relaxed
Anura Priyadarshana Yapa
The regulations on gem mining in the Matale district have been
relaxed with the intervention of Environment Minister Anura
Priyadarshana Yapa. He has arrived at this decision after listening to
complaints of the people involved in the gem industry in Laggala, Matale.
The minister participated in an open forum in Haththotamuna Central
College last Saturday, where the people involved in gem mining and
trading brought their issues to the attention of the minister. The
minister reacting to these complaints decided to relax certain
regulations pertaining to gem mining in the Matale district.
Accordingly, the use of backhoe has been allowed for the gem mines of
over two acres. However, before the miners apply for a new license they
should first refill the previous mine.
The minister also advised the Police to avoid entering gem mines with
a valid license and directed the Raid Unit of the National Gem and
Jewellery Authority (NGJA) to supervise the activities taking place in
these mines instead of the Police. He observed that the NGJA has the
legal provisions to take action against any irregularity taking place in
He also allowed the Naulla branch of the NGJA to issue gem mining
licenses for gem miners in Matale considering the inconvenience faced by
the people to come to the Colombo branch to get the license.
He said the laws and regulations should be adjusted if they cause
inconvenience to the people. The minister plans to make field visits in
other gem mining areas in the future to look into the problems faced by
the people involved in this industry. If necessary, regulations will be
relaxed considering the problems of each district.