Reinhard Hohler, Chiang Mai (05.07.2012)
According to media sources in Yangon, Myanmar has postponed its annual special gems sale in August following the suspension of jade mining at Pha-Kant in Kachin State, where fighting has been ongoing for more than one year.
The government halted jade mining at the end of May because of the fighting, after several meetings that failed to reach a cease-fire.
After the suspension, mine workers returned to their hometowns. There are reportedly about 400 companies ranging from a few workers to up to 2,000 workers in the Pha-Kant area.
In the April 1 by-election, polling in three constituencies including Pha-Kant Township was cancelled because of the instability.
A gems sale was held in July 2011 at the Mani Yadana Jade Hall in Naypyitaw, bringing in US$ 1.5 billion, according to officials. In Myanmar’s gem emporiums, jade is the most purchased item. On average, a total of about 5,000 gem traders from China, Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand and Korea visit the gem emporiums each year. Most of the visitors are Chinese.
Myanmar has held gem shows annually since 1964. Since 2004, the gem emporium has become a thrice event annually.
The latest official figures show that in 2010-11, Myanmar yielded 46,810 tons of jade and 12.962 million carats of gem stones which include ruby, sapphire, spinel and peridot, in addition to 275,688 mommis (1,033 kilograms) of pearl.
Source: ASEAN Affairs