Local miners in Mandalay Division’s ‘Ruby Land’ town of Mogok may soon get access to more gems.
The Myanmar Gems and Jewellery Entrepreneurs Association plans to allocate small-scale mining plots to locals to promote gem trade in the area.
“We are looking to allocate more small-scale plots for local miners”, said Tun Hla Aung, Deputy-Secretary of Myanmar Gems and Jewellery Entrepreneurs Association. “Members of the public who cannot afford to invest large sums of money, to allow them to work freely at the mines, looking to redevelop the gem market in the region.”
Rubies from the mines, many now being extracted by large mining companies in joint ventures with the government, are mainly sold overseas. After the government allocated some small plots for local miners in 2012, the local gem market improved slightly but not as much as expected.
“Small-scale mining plots, operated mostly manually without heavy machinery, are becoming rare – which led to a decline in ruby production”, said Hla Aung, Patron of Myanmar Gems and Jewellery Entrepreneurs Association. “When the supply is low, the buyers are inconvenienced, which leaves the market dry.”
In 2012, the government allocated over 400 small-time plots, mainly for local miners, with three-year contracts.
This new plan will hopefully help kick-start the gem trade in the region.