Myanmar jade industry worth $31 bn, profits elites: report

Heavy earth moving equipment at a jade mine in Hpakant, Myanmar's Kachin State, where most of the world's best quality jadeite is minedMyanmar’s secretive jade industry is worth an estimated $31 billion, far higher than official accounts, with most profits going to powerful military and ex-junta figures instead of the state coffers, a corruption watchdog said Friday. Shady income derived from the trade has long driven conflict in Myanmar, undermining efforts to stabilise its nascent democracy ahead of landmark elections next month, an investigation from London-based Global Witness said. In a report published Friday Global Witness estimated the value of jade produced in 2014 was around $31 billion — far exceeding the $3.4 billion sold at Myanmar’s gem emporium last year, the country’s only official market for international sales of the precious stone.

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