Myanmar will grant 319 jade mining blocks for engagement by local entrepreneurs in a bid to promote jade production in the country, Myanmar Times reported Friday.
Among those unexplored jade blocks allotted, 139 are in northern Kachin state's Moenyin and 180 in Sagaing division's Khamhti, the report quoted the state-run Myanmar Gems Enterprise ( MGE) as saying.
Each block measures one acre (4,000 square meters) and the blocks are to be leased on a three-year term, the report said.
Jade stands as one of Myanmar's major foreign currency earners, ranking the fourth largest export earning sector in the fiscal year 2005-06 with 205.47 million U.S. dollars, according to the report.
In November last year, new mining blocks were also allotted which included 77 in Shan state and 39 in Mandalay division for gem mining, while 99 near Lonekin in Kachin state for jade mining, the weekly's earlier report has said.
Value-added market in Myanmar has made good progress over the past three years. The country reportedly exported one ton of value- added jade products to Germany in October last year and is planning to export more value-added jade products to Spain later.
There are six mining areas in Myanmar under gem and jade exploration, namely, Mogok, Mongshu, Lonkin/Phakant, Khamhti, Moenyin and Namyar.
For the development of gem industry, Myanmar has been holding gem shows annually starting 1964 and introducing the mid-year one since 1992 and the special one since 2004. On each occasion, the country's quality gems, jade, pearl and jewelry worth of millions of dollars were put on sale mainly through competitive bidding.
In the just-ended 44th annual Myanmar gems emporium held in March, which lasted for 13 days, 3,652 lots of jade, gems and pearl were sold out of nearly 6,000 such lots displayed and the emporium was attended by 3,421 merchants, of whom over 2,000 are foreign ones.
Myanmar, a well-known producer of gems in the world, possesses nine gems -- ruby, diamond, cat's eye, emerald, topaz, pearl, sapphire, coral and a variety of garnet tinged with yellow.
The country 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.
In 2000, the government started mining of gems and jade in joint ventures with 10 private companies under profit sharing basis.
Meanwhile, Myanmar is working to establish the first ever gem merchants' association as also part of its bid to enhance the development of gem mining industry.