There is a massive requirement of soli and metals for development of the southern expressway from Matara to Kataragama. As such, large scale metal quarries and soil burrow pits are in operation within Hambantota and Ambalantota Divisional Secretariat divisions. The lands where these activities are in operation belong to the Sri Lanka Mahaweli Authority and also most of these mining pits and quarries are located within the proposed Elephant Management Reserve. Operating companies of these sites are requesting to continue further mining to meet the supply demand for the express way development.
The officers of the Central Environmental Authority, Geological Survey & Mines Bureau, Mahaweli Authority, Department of Wildlife Conservation and Civil Security Department recently jointly investigated the present situation of these quarries and pits and found that most of the excavated and mined areas have not yet been rehabilitated. Metal quarrying sites consist of large scale pits of 20 to 80 meters in depth with water in the bottom, creating an unsafe environment for wildlife including elephants. The proposed rehabilitation methods are to develop these pits as small scale tanks for the purpose of supplying water to wild animals and also to recreate greenery of the area with native plant species.
Under these circumstances, the team of agencies decided not to recommend further extend the licences issued to them for mining until rehabilitation works completed under the supervision of the agencies concerned.