Te Za mines jade with sophisticated equipment in Phakant

The Htoo Trading Company, owned by well-known Burmese tycoon Te Za, is running full scale jade mining operations with sophisticated mining equipment in Phakant, Kachin State in northern Burma. The tycoon is close to the Burmese military junta supremo Senior General Than Shwe.

Over 15 hydraulic earth diggers and over 20 Volvo 12-wheel trucks operate daily in Kawng San and Tawng Kaw mines. The expensive and unlicensed Volvo trucks cannot be used by any other jade mining company in Phakant except Te Za and Myanmar Dagaung Co. Ltd., said a local jade businessman.

In Phakant, Burma's ruling junta has not allowed companies to use unlicensed mining equipment such as diggers and trucks but  Te Za's Htoo Trading Company and Myanmar Dagaung Co. Ltd., derived from former United Wa State Army (UWSA)'s Hong Pang Group of companies owned by Wei Shao Kang, have been permitted to use unlicensed mining equipment, local businessmen said.

Te Za does not know much about jade, so he needs to cooperate with the Myanmar Dagaung Co. Ltd. The mining site's signboard and all the trucks have "Myanmar Dagaung" written on them instead of Htoo Trading Company, said local jade miners.

The Myanmar Dagaung Co. Ltd. is owned by former Hong Pang Group of company’s owner, Wei Shao Kang, a Chinese who is associated with the drug business in Burma. He knows much more about the jade business and also has a lot of experience, local jade businessmen said.

Now the Myanmar Dagaung Co. Ltd. occupies the entire Gwi Kha mine with the help of the junta and several company posters can be seen in the area, a jade businessman told KNG.

Te Za, one of Burma's official export and import license holders is close to Burma's ruling junta head Senior General Than Shwe. He occupies the entire Kawng San and Ting Kaw Mines and has forcibly displaced over 30 households in each mine area with the help of the Phakant-based junta's Strategic Command No.3 in October last year.

The entire Phakant jade mining areas are going to be occupied by the two pro-junta companies of Htoo Trading and Myanmar Dagaung rather than the UWSA, PaO National Army (PNA) led by Aung Kham Hti and Burma's other ethnic ceasefire groups, the businessmen added.

Phakant jade mining areas have been totally controlled by Burma's Ministry of Mines after the strongest Kachin ceasefire group, Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) signed a ceasefire agreement with Burma's junta in 1994.