Long-term residents of Myanmar’s ruby mining centre will be offered licences to mine for the precious stones, according to the Mandalay Region minister for forestry and mining, U Than Soe Myint.
In order to help increase job opportunities and reduce poverty in the area, households that have been in Mogok for more than 20 years will have the opportunity to receive a licence, he said.
“We have received 700 applications, and we estimate that we will be able to grant licences to around 400 households,” he added. “Whenever we have 50 applications, we check they meet the criteria and send them to the mining department in Mandalay for approval.”
Each household is eligible for a one-acre mining licence for three years, he said.
Residents of Mogok have welcomed the licensing program.
In June, religious leader U Eindaka, also known as Yay Pu Sayadaw, was charged under sections 41(a) and (b) of the Gems Law in connection with his efforts to build a new pagoda.
The Gem Traders’ Association filed a lawsuit against him, saying that his work in bringing together relics and holy objects from a number of old pagodas was “illegal mining”.
Earlier this year, U Eindaka played a major role in protests against the construction of the headquarters of the Gem Traders’ Association on the shores of Mogok’s lake.
Earlier this year, residents and environmental activists protested against the project, which was to house the Mogok Gem and Jewellery Entrepreneurs’ Association headquarters and possibly other buildings. Work on the project has since been suspended.