Some companies join bid to resume jade mining

About 80 companies are preparing to resume their jade mining business in Phakant, according to the Ministry of Mines.

Mining at jade blocks in Phakant were suspended for two years due to the armed conflict, but the government said the mining business would resume by September 1.

“We have received 80 applications, including from joint ventures, for jade mining. It seems everyone has to start from the beginning all over again. Businesses will resume when there is good transportation and security,” Shwe Lin Maung, the director for jade mining office under the ministry, said.

More than 7,500 jade blocks were run by more than 600 private companies and more than 300 jade blocks were run by 220 joint ventures over more than 15,000 acres of land in Phakant areas. When armed conflict between government troops and Kachin Independence Army resumed in June 2011, the government suspended jade mining in the Phakant area on May 31, 2012.

During conflicts, not only were locals killed or injured but also buildings, machineries, oil tanks and raw stones owned by companies were destroyed.

“We are visiting blocks to study the current security situation. It does not seem that good. Plus, we have to wait for the political situation as well. We have to start our business from scratch,” a manager of a mining company said.

Locals said that resumption of mining will depend on security.

“Everything will have to start from the beginning, even block measuring. There will have to be negotiations with armed groups regarding extortion fee. We have to face other illegal miners. We don’t know what Chinese investors desire because some businesses are counting on them. So we will wait and see,” a local from Phakant said.

Lanan, a spokesperson for the Kachin Independence Organization, said that they could not guarantee there won’t be conflicts in the Phakant area.

More than 200,000 migrants across the country used to work in the jade mining business.


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