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Myanmar miners unearth 175-tonne jade stone worth $170 million

International Business Times (AU)International Business Times (AU) 18/10/2016 Vittorio Hernandez

Giant Jade © Provided by IBT Australia Giant Jade An 18-foot wide and 9-foot high jade stone weighing 175 tonnes unearthed by miners in Myanmar just dwarfed a 34-kilogramme pearl in the Philippines displayed for the first time in public in August, although it was discovered 10 years ago. Initial estimates value the giant jade – large enough as two small houses – at US$170 million (A$224 million).

Sao Min, a 44-year-old miner who was part of the group that found the 175-tonne stone in a remote mine in Kachin State, says, “We thought we had won the lottery. But this belongs to the country. It is in honour of our leaders,” Daily Mail quotes Min.

U Tint Soe, a local politician, adds the discover us a present to Burmese citizens, government and the party in power. “It is a very good sign for us,” U says.

But it is not the largest jade since the record-holder is the carved jade statue at the Jade Buddha Palace in China which weighs 260 tonnes, according to Mirror online.

Jade Buddha Temple in China © Provided by IBT Australia Jade Buddha Temple in China  Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, produces the bulk of the world’s finest jadeite which contributes to almost 50 percent of the Southeast Asian nation’s GDP. The giant jade would be shipped to China, the world’s largest marker for this gemstone, where it is expected to be cut into pieces for production of jewellery and sculpture.

Despite jade being the rock of Myanmar’s economy, the jade mining industry in the country is characterised as being dangerous and lacking in regulation. Straitstimes reports that itinerant workers are at the risk of landslides as they pick through piles of waste left by large-scale industrial miners. In 2015, more than 100 people were killed by a landslide in Kachin, a mining state where the large jade was unearthed.

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