Jade mining businesses in Hkanti face difficulties due to illegal miners

Migrant workers search jade stones in Hpakant.
Migrant workers search jade stones in Hpakant.

Jade mining businesses in Hkanti are struggling to deal with a lack of enforcement of laws against those who dig for jade without a permit, said U Tun Lin Shein from the Myauk Kyun Thu Ma Ma company recently.
There are 18 legal companies in Namsepun Hmaw and 16 legal companies in Ma Kyan Kha Hmaw in Hkanti.
But hundreds of people who are not employed by mining companies forcibly enter the jade mines and illegally dig for jade, officials said. This leaves the companies with not many jade stones to find, officials said. The companies are struggling even to pay salaries, U Tun Lin Shein said.
“We are interdependent, and so we want to give jobs more to the local people”, he said.
“We can take legal action against those who are digging for jade without a permit. Also, we can take action against them if we find them not holding a license”, said assistant director U Tun Wai from Hkanti jade mining camp.
U Tun Wai said the violators cannot be arrested because he does not have enough staff. But video recordings of the unlicensed people digging for jade have been compiled.
Only about 200 out of 3,000 illegal miners are local people. The rest are from other regions. They trespass on the companies’ land, said U Soe Soe from Paw Mai ward, Hkanti town.
The companies from Hkanti town have donated funds to build classrooms and are also actively participating in the community’s social activities by donating cash and in kind donations.

Aung Thant Khine

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