Myanmar has enhanced gem mining work in the past 18 years by increasing the number of such blocks and boosting production, the official New Light of Myanmar reported Wednesday.
Over the nearly two decades, the government has introduced 627 gem mining blocks in the country, up from merely 8 in 1988 with gem production registering at 61.23 million carats in 2005, an increase from 126,000 carats in 1988.
Besides, about 1,200 jade mining blocks were also granted over the period, up from only three in 1988 with jade production amounting to 14,436 tons in 2005, up from only 130 tons in 1988.
Moreover, the government has opened seven pearl camps since then, producing 124,207 mommis (465.7 kilos) of pearl in 2005, up from 8,488 mommis in 1988.
There are six mining areas in Myanmar under gem exploration, namely Mogok, Mongshu, Lonkin/Phakant, Khamhti, Moenyin and Namyar.
In a bid to develop its gem industry, Myanmar started to hold gem shows in 1964, sponsoring annual and mid-year ones and adding special jade and gem sale since last year. Since then the country has earned a total of over 500 million dollars from all such events, attended by foreign gem traders mostly coming from China's Hong Kong, Thailand and Japan.
Myanmar, a well-known producer of jade and gems in the world, possesses such gems as ruby, diamond, cat's eye, emerald, topaz, pearl, sapphire, coral and a variety of garnet tinged with yellow.
To develop gem mining industry, Myanmar enacted the New Gemstone Law in 1995, allowing national entrepreneurs to mine, produce, transport and sell finished gemstone and manufactured jewelry at home and abroad.
Since 2000, the government has started mining of gems and jade in joint venture with 10 private companies under profit sharing basis.