A mammoth-sized chunk of jade stone has been unearthed in Burma, the southeast Asian country also known as Myanmar.
The discovery was made in a remote mine in Kachin State in the north of the country. It measures 5.8 meters (19 feet) long and weighs a whopping 175 tonnes (192 US tons), the BBC reports. It’s believed to be worth an eye-watering $170 million.
“I assume that it is a present for the fate of our citizens, the government, and our party as it was discovered in the time of our government. It’s a very good sign for us,” said local politician U Tint Soe, according to the Independent.
The stone is reportedly heading for China, where it will be carved into jewelry and sculptures.
The term jade can refer to two different types of metamorphic rock: jadeite and nephrite. This find is believed to be a jadeite rock. The two types are similar in appearance and used for ornamental purposes, although they have a different physical and chemical composition, with jadeite being the most valuable of the two. It’s extremely difficult to tell the difference just by visual inspection.
Around 70 percent of the world’s high-quality jadeite is thought to come from Myanmar and makes up around half of their gross domestic product. Unfortunately, the multi-billion dollar trade is shrouded in government corruption, crime, and environmental destruction.