News

Fuel shortage affects Ratnapura gem mining 

  • Licensed gem miners seek diesel 
  • State Ministry requests CPC to continue supply 

 

BY Buddhika Samaraweera

Claiming that the prevailing shortage of diesel has made it impossible to carry out gem mining activities, gem miners in the Ratnapura area have requested the Government to prepare a programme to supply diesel, at least for the licensed gem mining operations.

Speaking to the media yesterday (9), those involved in the gem mining industry in the Ratnapura area alleged that they cannot carry out mining activities at present, given the shortage of diesel.

They said: “At least the Government should make arrangements to supply the required fuel to the licensed mines in a proper manner. We are not asking for anything for free. We demand that the necessary environment be created to carry on with this industry.”

They pointed out that in addition to the machines used for gem mining, the dozers used in mining activities also require large quantities of fuel on a daily basis. 

They noted: “A dozer requires at least 100 litres of diesel per day, but fuel stations do not supply diesel to cans. So how do we run this industry?”

They emphasised that the Government should immediately look into the matter and provide them with the required fuel, given the fact that the gem mining industry is bringing significant foreign exchange into the country, especially at a time when the country is facing a foreign exchange crisis.

When inquired about the matter, Gem and Jewellery Related Industries State Ministry Secretary S.M. Piyatissa said that the State Ministry has made a request to the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) to continue supplying fuel, particularly diesel, needed for permitted gem mining activities. 

Due to the imports of fuel being hampered as a result of the current US dollar deficit in the country, a shortage of fuel, particularly diesel, has arisen. As a result, fuel stations are not receiving enough fuel stocks and people are seen waiting in long queues near fuel stations.