Phakant Jade Mine

Hpakan - Pha-Khant


Useful Information

Location: Phakant town.
Open: All year.
[2020]
Fee: Depends on duration and operator.
[2020]
Classification: MineGem Mine jade mines
Light: n/a.
Dimension:
Guided tours:
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: Guanghai Shi, George Harlow, Jing Wang, Jun Wang, NG Enoch, Xia Wang, Shu Cao, W Enyuancui (2012): Mineralogy of jadeitite and related rocks from Myanmar: a review with new data European Journal of Mineralogy, 24(2), 345-370. 10.1127/0935-1221/2012/0024-2190. online
Address: Phakant Jade Mine, Tel: +95-, Fax: +95-,
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History

2000 largest jade block of the world discovered.
2008 32,921 tons of jade mined.
2009 25,795 tons of jade mined.
22-NOV-2015 Hpakant jade mine disaster with over 100 killed in a landslide.

Geology

The mineralogy of the jadeitite from Myanmar is very diverse. More than thirty mineral species have been documented. The spectrum of minerals in the jadeitite indicates that the jadeite-forming fluids were rich in Na, Al, Ba, Sr, and Ca.


Description

Phakant is a town located at the shores of Irrawadi river, the main river of Myanmar. The hills around the town are full of open pit mines for the semi precious jade. In 2000 the largest jade rock in the world was found in Phakant. It was 21m long, 4.8m wide and 10.5m high, weighing 3000 tons. The jade is mostly sold to neighbor China, which also is the chief investor in development projects.

Tours to the mine are a little difficult, so it is best to book a five day journey with a tour operator. First you have to travel from Mandalay to Myitkyina, from here you will be driven through narrow gorges to Phakant. The area was opened to foreign visitors with a special authorization. If you book a tour the operator will obtain this permit, but you should book some time in advanced because this takes time. Foreigners are allowed to purchase gems, but only at shops registered for export. With your purchase you will get a certificate for export which you will need when leaving the country.

The situation at Phakant is a little difficult, so this journey is probably a bit rough. Like a mining town of the American west during the gold rush the area has problems with alcohol, gambling, prostitution, and opium dens. The Golden Triangle is close and heroin was openly on sale on the streets. The Kachin Independence Army (KIA) came into the area in the early 1990s, rounded up both addicts and drug dealers, took them to the nearby Uru River, shot and dumped them in the river. But while the drug problems seem under control, the environmental problems are simply not addressed. The area has multiple problems with pollution, deforestation and landslides.