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The annual gems emporium in Naypyidaw has ended on a low, with jade sales down 63 percent, a decrease blamed on ongoing armed conflict in Kachin State.
Proceeds fell from last year’s record figure of US$3.4 billion to just $1.26 billion, as mining operations were interrupted by renewed clashes between the Burmese military and the Kachin Independence Army.
This year, the precious stone made up almost 90 percent of the auction’s sales, and 80 percent of total proceeds in 2014.
The majority of the world’s jadeite, the most sought-after type of the stone, is mined in northern Burma, where conflict continues to rage.
Burma’s jade industry has gained a notorious reputation for being mined and sold illegally into neighbouring China. Some estimate as much as half of Burma’s jade ends up across the border through unofficial trading.
Total production for the 2014-15 fiscal year amounted to 13,200 tonnes, down from 15,000 tonnes in 2013-14.
WATCH short DVB documentary: Hpakant’s jade curse