Buyers from China have found it much easier to do business in the mines of Hpakant than in Mandalay’s Maha Aung Myay Gems Trading Centre, the city’s largest emporium which features more than 1000 shops, especially if they want to buy raw or uncut jades. “I have been working for a month now at the mines instead of at Mandalay Market. Even my market acquaintances are here now. In this place, you can observe the raw stones. And, you get to buy at lower prices too. As the gems are taken directly from Hpakant to China, the domestic market seems to be collapsing,” said U Soe Nyunt, a gem trader, on June 6. While some mines have closed due to the heavy rain in May brought about by onset of the monsoon season, there were still other mine sites which remained open and there were small scale miners and gem scavengers who sell jades, he added.