Huge jade rock discovered in Myanmar: An enormous jade boulder has been found in Myanmar that could weigh up to 50 tonnes, and the government has sent soldiers to protect, a state minister announced on Friday.
The raw jade rock was reportedly discovered last week by villagers and small-scale miners in Hpakant, a gem-rich region in Kachin state.
The boulder is still half buried, and it is therefore impossible to know its exact size, said minister Lajun Ngan Seng of Kachin.
Officials believe it may be 5.5 metres wide and weigh up to 50 tonnes, he said.
“It’s being guarded by soldiers,” said the minister, and after it has been completely unearthed, “We’ll decide what to do with it.”
Myanmar is one of the world’s largest producers of jade, mostly found in the conflict-ridden Kachin mountains, where ethnic rebels have been fighting the government for over half a century.
The overwhelming majority of the gemstones, considered to be of the highest quality, are smuggled into China over the northern border.
Since 2011 Hpakant has been closed off to large-scale miners due to renewed fighting between government soldiers and rebels of the Kachin Independence Army.
But this has not kept individual villagers and miners from using rudimentary equipment, and sometimes even bare hands, from looking for the gems, according to reports.
The government and the rebel group were engaged in discussions about the enormous jade rock, according to Dwut Lar, a church official with rebel ties.
He said the government offered the rebels 10% of the rock’s value, which is yet to be determined, but they rejected the offer as far too low.