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Hunting for jade in a corner of hell


From the dispassionate eye of a satellite in area, the realm Around Hpakant, a town in Myanmar’s Kachin state, looks as if a dry brown moonscape in a sea of green.

The mostly potholed dust and gravel highway to Hpakant twists thru emerald hills; in the rainy season, it’s reduced to reddish-brown mud, and wooden pontoons load automobiles two or three at a time to swing them across swollen rivers. Round Hpakant itself – a ramshackle natural growth city – over 850 jade mining firms function over some 9,000ha.





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