Declining market threatens small-scale miners in jade central

The jade market in Hpakant,Kachin State, the jade central of Myanmar, has ground to a halt threatening the survival of small-scale mining companies, according to the merchants and locals.

Low prices are being offered for high quality jade pieces,while lesser pieces are proving almost impossible to sell.

“Despite clashes between the military and KIA (Kachin Independence Army), the jade market flourished in the past. But the market is idlethis year and prices have been falling. Most of the small-scale miners are out of business,” said Aung Aung, a dealer from Lonekhin region, proclaimed to behome to the highest quality jade.

Fewer Chinese buyers and a tightened grip on the jade smugglings route to China hashit the local market hard, merchants said.

“The Chinese market has becomes inactive. So, it’s hard for us to make ends meet,” one merchant told Eleven Media.

Jade dealing has been petering out for half the year and small-scale miners find it hard to survive.

“We had over 70 miners a tour worksite in previous years, but barely 10 this year. Transactions worth millions are unheard of these days,” said Htun Htun Win, owner of a small-scale mining company.

Hpakant hosts over 300,000 small privateand individual miners, most of them migrants.

The government gave the green light to resume workon September 1 after two years of shutdown due to battles between the military and KIA in 2012.

According to Kachin State’s Ministry of Mines, 36 major private companies are trying to restart jade mining at 15,638 worksites as of last month.


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