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Pictures | Mon Sep 30, 2013 | 2:15pm EDT

Myanmar’s jade empire

<p>Hand-pickers search for jade through rubble dumped by mining companies at a jade mine in Hpakant township, Kachin State, Myanmar, July 8, 2013. 

REUTERS/Minzayar</p>

Hand-pickers search for jade through rubble dumped by mining companies at a jade mine in Hpakant township, Kachin State, Myanmar, July 8, 2013. REUTERS/Minzayar

Hand-pickers search for jade through rubble dumped by mining companies at a jade mine in Hpakant township, Kachin State, Myanmar, July 8, 2013. REUTERS/Minzayar

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<p>A hand-picker washes himself after searching for jade through rubble dumped by mining companies at a jade mine in Hpakant township, Kachin State, Myanmar, July 7, 2013.  REUTERS/Minzayar</p>

A hand-picker washes himself after searching for jade through rubble dumped by mining companies at a jade mine in Hpakant township, Kachin State, Myanmar, July 7, 2013. REUTERS/Minzayar

A hand-picker washes himself after searching for jade through rubble dumped by mining companies at a jade mine in Hpakant township, Kachin State, Myanmar, July 7, 2013. REUTERS/Minzayar

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<p>Hand-pickers return from searching for jade through rubble dumped by mining companies at a jade mine in Hpakant township, Kachin, Myanmar, State July 7, 2013. 

REUTERS/Minzayar</p>

Hand-pickers return from searching for jade through rubble dumped by mining companies at a jade mine in Hpakant township, Kachin, Myanmar, State July 7, 2013. REUTERS/Minzayar

Hand-pickers return from searching for jade through rubble dumped by mining companies at a jade mine in Hpakant township, Kachin, Myanmar, State July 7, 2013. REUTERS/Minzayar

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<p>Hand-pickers return from searching for jade through rubble dumped by mining companies at a jade mine in Hpakant township, Kachin State, Myanmar, July 7, 2013. 

REUTERS/Minzayar</p>

Hand-pickers return from searching for jade through rubble dumped by mining companies at a jade mine in Hpakant township, Kachin State, Myanmar, July 7, 2013. REUTERS/Minzayar

Hand-pickers return from searching for jade through rubble dumped by mining companies at a jade mine in Hpakant township, Kachin State, Myanmar, July 7, 2013. REUTERS/Minzayar

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<p>Hand-pickers search for jade through rubble dumped by mining companies at a jade mine in Hpakant township, Kachin State, Myanmar, July 7, 2013. 

REUTERS/Minzayar</p>

Hand-pickers search for jade through rubble dumped by mining companies at a jade mine in Hpakant township, Kachin State, Myanmar, July 7, 2013. REUTERS/Minzayar

Hand-pickers search for jade through rubble dumped by mining companies at a jade mine in Hpakant township, Kachin State, Myanmar, July 7, 2013. REUTERS/Minzayar

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<p>Hand-pickers walk as they search for jade through rubble dumped by mining companies at a jade mine in Hpakant township, Kachin State, July 7, 2013.  REUTERS/Minzayar</p>

Hand-pickers walk as they search for jade through rubble dumped by mining companies at a jade mine in Hpakant township, Kachin State, July 7, 2013. REUTERS/Minzayar

Hand-pickers walk as they search for jade through rubble dumped by mining companies at a jade mine in Hpakant township, Kachin State, July 7, 2013. REUTERS/Minzayar

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<p>Too Aung, a 30-year-old hand-picker, shows the unwashed jade that he just found in a jade mine in Hpakant township, Kachin State, July 7, 2013.  REUTERS/Minzayar</p>

Too Aung, a 30-year-old hand-picker, shows the unwashed jade that he just found in a jade mine in Hpakant township, Kachin State, July 7, 2013. REUTERS/Minzayar

Too Aung, a 30-year-old hand-picker, shows the unwashed jade that he just found in a jade mine in Hpakant township, Kachin State, July 7, 2013. REUTERS/Minzayar

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<p>Middlemen and jade hand-pickers gather at a house to smoke opium, heroine and yaba in a village near a jade mine in Hpakant township, Kachin State, July 7, 2013.  REUTERS/Minzayar</p>

Middlemen and jade hand-pickers gather at a house to smoke opium, heroine and yaba in a village near a jade mine in Hpakant township, Kachin State, July 7, 2013. REUTERS/Minzayar

Middlemen and jade hand-pickers gather at a house to smoke opium, heroine and yaba in a village near a jade mine in Hpakant township, Kachin State, July 7, 2013. REUTERS/Minzayar

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<p>Tin Tun (R), a 38-year-old jade hand-picker, sells the jade which he found after searching the whole night at a jade mine in Hpakant township, Kachin State, July 8, 2013. REUTERS/Minzayar</p>

Tin Tun (R), a 38-year-old jade hand-picker, sells the jade which he found after searching the whole night at a jade mine in Hpakant township, Kachin State, July 8, 2013. REUTERS/Minzayar

Tin Tun (R), a 38-year-old jade hand-picker, sells the jade which he found after searching the whole night at a jade mine in Hpakant township, Kachin State, July 8, 2013. REUTERS/Minzayar

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<p>Traders inspect jade on so-called "jade tables" in a tea shop in Lone Khin village, in Hpakant township, Kachin State, July 8, 2013. REUTERS/Minzayar</p>

Traders inspect jade on so-called "jade tables" in a tea shop in Lone Khin village, in Hpakant township, Kachin State, July 8, 2013. REUTERS/Minzayar

Traders inspect jade on so-called "jade tables" in a tea shop in Lone Khin village, in Hpakant township, Kachin State, July 8, 2013. REUTERS/Minzayar

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<p>Backhoes, trucks and machinery are parked in a company compound near a jade mine in Hpakant township, Kachin State, July 8, 2013. REUTERS/Minzayar</p>

Backhoes, trucks and machinery are parked in a company compound near a jade mine in Hpakant township, Kachin State, July 8, 2013. REUTERS/Minzayar

Backhoes, trucks and machinery are parked in a company compound near a jade mine in Hpakant township, Kachin State, July 8, 2013. REUTERS/Minzayar

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<p>Traders inspect jade on so-called "jade tables" in a tea shop in Lone Khin village, in Hpakant township, Kachin State, July 8, 2013. REUTERS/Minzayar</p>

Traders inspect jade on so-called "jade tables" in a tea shop in Lone Khin village, in Hpakant township, Kachin State, July 8, 2013. REUTERS/Minzayar

Traders inspect jade on so-called "jade tables" in a tea shop in Lone Khin village, in Hpakant township, Kachin State, July 8, 2013. REUTERS/Minzayar

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<p>Traders wait for hand-pickers and middlemen to inspect their jade on so-called "jade tables" in a tea shop in Lone Khin village, in Hpakant township, Kachin State July 8, 2013. Picture taken July 8. To match Special Report MYANMAR-JADE/ REUTERS/Minzayar (MYANMAR - Tags: BUSINESS COMMODITIES)</p>

Traders wait for hand-pickers and middlemen to inspect their jade on so-called "jade tables" in a tea shop in Lone Khin village, in Hpakant township, Kachin State July 8, 2013. Picture taken July 8. To match Special Report MYANMAR-JADE/...more

Traders wait for hand-pickers and middlemen to inspect their jade on so-called "jade tables" in a tea shop in Lone Khin village, in Hpakant township, Kachin State July 8, 2013. Picture taken July 8. To match Special Report MYANMAR-JADE/ REUTERS/Minzayar (MYANMAR - Tags: BUSINESS COMMODITIES)

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<p>Traders inspect jade on so-called "jade tables" in a tea shop in Lone Khin village, in Hpakant township, Kachin State, July 8, 2013. REUTERS/Minzayar</p>

Traders inspect jade on so-called "jade tables" in a tea shop in Lone Khin village, in Hpakant township, Kachin State, July 8, 2013. REUTERS/Minzayar

Traders inspect jade on so-called "jade tables" in a tea shop in Lone Khin village, in Hpakant township, Kachin State, July 8, 2013. REUTERS/Minzayar

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