Myanmar’s latest official sale of jade, gems and pearl brought in a record high $3.5 billion, a senior official from the Ministry of Mines said.
Myanmar is the world’s biggest source of high-quality jade, much of it coming from Kachin state in the north of the Southeast Asian country, but the industry has been disrupted since a ceasefire between the army and ethnic rebels in the region broke down in 2011.
Much of the jade is smuggled over the border to China.
The government generally holds official sales twice a year and the latest was in the capital, Nay Pyi Taw, from June 24 to July 6.
“Total proceeds from the sale of jade, pearl and gems like ruby and sapphire at the 51st Emporium amounted to over €2.6 billion ($3.54 billion), exceeding our expectations and hitting a record high,” said Win Htein, a director general at the Ministry of Mines.
He said total proceeds from all last year’s sales came to about $2.6 billion.
Another ministry official, who asked not to be identified because he was not authorised to speak to the press, said most of the buyers of the jade were from China, Hong Kong, Thailand and Singapore, while local buyers bought most of the gems.
According to official data compiled by the state-run Central Statistical Organisation (CSO), Myanmar produced 15.06 million kg of jade in the fiscal year that ended in March 2014, compared with 19.08 million in 2012/2013 and 43.19 million in 2011/2012. Reuters