In the world's top exporter of the precious stone jade, Myanmar (formerly known as Burma), a startling discovery was made by a mining company in conjunction with the country's Ministry of Mining.
An unbelievably large jade stone, intact in one solid piece, was found in the form of a boulder by Yadanar Taungtan Company in Myanmar's Kachin State in the northern part of the country.
"Very Good Sign"
While there was an obvious temptation for the firm to profit from the giant stone itself, its joint effort with the government—and the miner's patriotism—compelled the company to donate the jade to the state.
"This belongs to the country," Sao Min, one of the mineworkers, was quoted as saying. Others expressed the sentiment that the discovery was an auspicious sign for the country and the Burmese people; one local politician claimed it was "a very good sign for us" as a nation.
The size of the stone is astounding. It measures 18 feet by 18 feet by 9 feet and weighs somewhere between 175 to 210 metric tonnes, depending on which source you believe.
Less surprising, however, is that the stone was found in Myanmar. The country is the source for virtually all of the world's jade—a $31-billion industry annually—and trades much of this green gemstone with its northern neighbor, China, where jade is in high demand. The export of jade accounts for about half of Myanmar's economic output (as measured by gross domestic product, or GDP) each year.
In its raw form, a jade stone of this size is estimated to be worth £140 million ($170 million).
Arrangements are being made to send the stone to China for processing into jewelry and sculptures.
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