The Gem Mines


Methods range from open pits in secondary alluvial marble gravel (locally called byon) to tunneling in primary host rock. Today, Mogok gemstone deposits are declining, especially the alluvial deposits. This is leading towards more mechanization and drilling in the primary marble host rock.

One long-standing component of mining in Mogok is the custom of kanasé ma. After the sorting operations, some gems escape detection and end up in the tailings. Local custom dictates that tailings may be searched by anyone, who may then keep the gems they find. Most of these kanasé ma “miners” are women, who break up the waste rock to find gems, thus providing a source of small stones for local markets.

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