Govt to Ban Renewal of Expired Jade Mining Licenses

By Htet Naing Zaw 28 June 2016

NAYPYIDAW — Burma’s government will not allow jade miners to renew their licenses when they expire in an effort to reduce raw production and promote more profitable high-end jade products, said Win Htein, director general of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation.

“We will not reduce the number of mining fields, but we will ban the renewal of expired mining licenses. We will draw up a management plan that meets international norms and we will allow jade miners to resume their operations only when we can be sure that mining does not cause environmental deterioration,” Win Htein told reporters in Naypyidaw.

The ministry has decided to ban jade production in all mining areas including Hpakant, Lone Khin, Mohnyin and Hkamti once current licenses expire.

The director general said that the ministry also plans to reduce jade sales, in an effort to stem the flow of raw jade out of the country in favor of encouraging local entrepreneurs to purchase the stones with value-added intentions.

Up to 10,000 lots of raw jade were sold at Naypyidaw’s jade and gems emporium in previous years; but, at this year’s emporium, the ministry promoted polished jade products and only offered about 6,000 jade lots for sale.

“Even if jade is sold on a small scale, the market will remain. The reduction in production will have some impact on our jade exports to China, but we’ll reduce raw jade production and try to promote value-added products so that future generations can benefit from jade resources as well,” Win Htein said.

Over 6,000 jade lots, 300 pearl lots and 600 gems lots are for sale at the 53rd emporium, which continues through the first week in July. The event has sold over US$3 million worth of gems so far, according to a press release from the emporium.