Miners from Myanmar struck gold after digging up a giant jade stone worth $170 million.
Miners working in the town of Hpakant, Kachin State, Myanmar struck gold when they dug up 192 tons of raw precious jade. The stone which is almost the size of two houses combined could reportedly fetch a handsome price tag of $170 million.
Myanmar official U Tint Soe believes the finding is a gift to the country and its citizens, citing the crisis it is going through. He said it is a positive sign for the nation. Some areas in the country are rocked by religious and social destabilization, prompting some to flee and risk their lives while attempting to migrate to nearby Thailand, Indonesia, and Bangladesh.
According to reports, the 19-feet long stone weighing more than 190 tons is to be shipped to China for conversion into sellable art pieces and jewelry items.
Jade is of two types – jadeite and nephrite. Jadeite, also called imperial jade is a rare type mostly found in Myanmar. It is yellowish and contains chromium. On the other hand, nephrite, the classic jade is mostly found in China. Of the two types, jadeite is the more valuable.
This huge stone find is believed to be a jadeite.
About three-fourths of the world’s supply of jadeite originate from Myanmar. About 50 percent of the country’s GDP is attributed to this precious stone. However, the jadeite industry is allegedly abused by corrupt government officials.
Apart from jadeite, the country also boasts of its supply of rubies. It is believed that almost 90 percent of rubies in the world are from Myanmar.
Myanmar’s gem industry is robust and growing although the country is facing sanctions from the western community, partly because of environmental issues. However, according to the University of Hong Kong professor, these sanctions failed to dampen the trade.
Sao Min, one of the groups of miners who have struck this stone is very much elated with the find. He said the group felt like winning in a lottery game, adding that this precious find is really for the country.