Phakant jade mining temporarily put on hold

A temporary halt in jade mining, extracting and production in Phakant —a lucrative mining area in Kachin State— thanks to inadequate regulation and weather conditions.

The Myanmar Gems Enterprise issued a directive banning jade mining and extraction in response to recent disasters. The statement points out recent collapses and landslides resulting in deaths and damages to machinery, local houses, and infrastructure. This ban will take effect from June 1st until September 30th of 2019, pausing mining for three months.

A decade of large scale mining has left the region and its people utterly scarred. The government has finally taken action to prevent further environmental degradation and mining disasters. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation and Environmental Conservation Committee have recommended discontinuing mining until corrective fiscal policies, ethical regulatory frameworks, and new licenses have been implemented.

Furthermore, mining in the monsoon rains this season can have serious consequences: increased damp soil leading to landslides and mine collapses, increased water pollution as damp soil and mining waste seeps into nearby streams, damages and dislocation done to large machinery, and heightened overall pollution and danger posed to third-party citizens.

This temporary ceaseure includes mining, extraction, as well as production of any kind. Before the halt took effect, companies had to first submit detailed accounts of the quantity and weight of extracted jade, as well as estimated market prices of each jadeite to the Jade Mining Department in Lone Khin (Kachin). In addition to jade, the ministry has also directed firms to present detailed accounts of all mining machinery used in the industry. From heavy-duty trucks to backhoes, all heavy machinery need to be accounted for.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation and the Kachin regional government has also banned the imports of heavy machinery and vehicles into Kachin. Inspection programs on border gates were carried out to prevent further pollution and illegal continuation of jade production. Until new regulations which may reduce negative externalities of production are established, this will remain as the status quo in Phakant. Firms which fail to strictly follow this legal guideline proposed by the ministry will face strong legal action in accordance to the Myanmar Gemstone Law.

Source: Eleven Myanmar

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