Jade frenzy as fortune hunters hit the road to strike it rich in China

Prospectors hold up road maintenance project as they sift through exposed ground to find pieces of precious stone

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 01 November, 2017, 3:52pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 01 November, 2017, 3:52pm

Authorities in a city in southwestern China had to send in crews to break up a crowd of fortune seekers hoping to strike jade in an unsealed section of road, Chinese media reported on Wednesday.

Armed with shovels, the prospectors descended on the road in Tenchong, Yunnan province, after a 100-metre section had been ripped up for maintenance, Chinanews.com reported.

Tengchong, on the border with Myanmar, has been a centre for jade excavation and processing for about 600 years and the road runs through a part of the city where many discoveries had been made in the past, according to the report.

Young and old, and men and women joined the jade rush, seriously hampering the maintenance project, one of the roadworkers was quoted as saying.

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City authorities sent in staff to disperse the prospectors on Tuesday, Yunnan.cn reported.

Similar rushes took place in September last year and in April this year after a rumour spread online that one jade hunter found a piece that he later sold for 390,000 yuan (US$59,000).

Roadworkers said the area had been well picked over and only diehard treasure hunters turned up for the latest dig.

“The number of people who went digging this time was quite low because this side of the town has been dug up many times. There’s not much to find,” one roadworker was quoted as saying.

There are more than 2,000 companies selling jade in Tengchong, Chinanews.com reported.