The Kachin State government moved this week to allow locals to engage in small-scale mining in Hpakant Township for what they say is the first time.
As of March 3, locals can register with the Hpakant General Administration Department to mine in three blocks.
Applicants looking to take advantage of the shift in regulations must apply with their Kachin State identification card and family registration document with priority given to those who live in the Hpakant and Kamaing areas. The application period ends on March 13, with mining commencing at the end of this month.
“Any applicant can apply [to mine on] three mining blocks. We will check up on all applications with the standard rules and regulations,” Kachin State’s minister of natural resources and the environment Dashi La Seng told KNG.
One mining block is around one acre, and permission will be granted for one year at a time. There are a total of 376 acres of mining blocks available through the scheme, including 239 acres in the Tarma Kham and Hawngper areas, 54 acres in Mashi Kahtawng and Jan Htep, and 83 acres in Namma Phit.
Each applicant will be required to pay 654,000 kyat (US$480), including a 500,000 kyat ($367) deposit.
“We won’t restrict how they dig. They can dig freely. But they cannot use more than a 25-horsepower engine,” Dashi La Seng said.
The Union government has allowed more than 27,740 blocks to be mined for jade in Hpakant.