Sri Lankan Gem Mining Techniques - Mechanized mining
Using excavators in gem mining has not been allowed in Sri Lanka, as measures to limit negative impacts on the natural environment. This has resulted in ancient manual techniques being used to this date.
A few years ago, the government granted a limited amount of permits to use excavators and backhoes in mining operations. The permits came with high licensing fees and a deposit fee which only could be partially retrieved by filling out the area which has been dug out and bringing the land to a satisfactory natural state.
Below is a video of the process which we use in our recent mining operations. The use of the backhoe has allowed us to complete tasks much more easier and faster.
The gem gravel (illam) washing baskets were made with minimal costs, but does the job very well. With the use of the basket and the backhoe, a massive amount of illam can be washed in a day, with very minimal effort.