The world's major source of the high-quality jadeite, the blue-green stone that has been esteemed in China for millennia. The open-pit mines at Hpakant, located west of the state capital of Myitkyina in Kachin State, produce a grade of jadeite considered superior in quality even to stones found in China itself. Few foreigners have seen the mine; gemstones are a state monopoly, and access is tightly controlled by the Tatmadaw. As many as half a million desperately poor miners work there under harsh conditions, drawn by the hope of making their fortune. Described by one journalist as "Burma's black heart," Hpakant's mostly male population suffers high rates of heroin addiction and AIDS.

Historical Dictionary of Burma (Myanmar). . 2014.

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