Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Himalayan gemstones and their prospects in Nepal


*Krishna P. Kaphle
Majurmarg-60, Panipokhari, Maharajgunj, Kathmandu, Nepal
(*E-mail:kpkaphle@gmail.com)

ABSTRACT

Nepal lies in the central part of the Great Himalayan Belt. The geological environment both in the Higher Himalayan as well as Lesser Himalayan regions is suitable for gemstones (precious and semiprecious stones) mineralization/ deposits. Gemstones are the important mineral resources that can be mined/ quarried economically in Nepal. So far very few private entrepreneurs are conducting gemstone exploration and also operating very small-scale traditional mines mainly of semiprecious stones like Tourmaline, Aquamarine/ Beryl, Garnet, Kyanite, Quartz crystal, and precious stones like Ruby and Sapphire, etc. by obtaining the prospecting and mining licenses from the Government of Nepal/ Department of Mines and Geology (DMG) since long time. But in many cases due to haphazard mining of gemstones without any technical knowhow has resulted considerable loss of the valuable resources and consequent environmental degradation in the area. Precious stones like Ruby and Sapphire are reported from the strongly tectonized lenses of saccharoidal dolomites within highly metamorphosed rock sequence close to the Main Central Thrust (MCT). Similarly semiprecious stones like Tourmaline, Beryl, Aquamarine, Garnet, and Quartz crystals are known from the complex pegmatites occurring mainly in the high grade metamorphic rocks (crystalline rocks). Deep red coloured Garnets and inky blue Kyanites are quite common in the Higher Himalayan crystalline zones. These gemstones are recorded and locally mined in different parts of Dhadhing, Rasuwa, Nuwakot, Manang, Dailekh, Jajrkot, Bajhang, Sankhuwasabha, Ilam, Panchthar and Taplejung district. Some of the mines are already exhausted, and only few of them are in operation.  

Keywords: Nepal Himalaya, gemstone exploration, prospecting and mining license, precious and                semi precious stones, mines, production
Received:                                                        revision accepted:

 

INTRODUCTION


            Gemstones are the valuable natural resources which are present in different parts of Nepal Himalaya. Once beautiful coloured gemstones are cut and polished into attractive shape and size they get very good price in the international market and have bright future. The commercial value of precious stones varies as precious metals. In many cases the price of the gemstone depends also on the buyer's choice. Because of their high value, small volume and easy to transport they can be mined even in the remote areas without heavy equipments. According to the national policy of the Government of Nepal, Department of Mines and Geology (DMG) is giving priority to explore, evaluate and sustainable development of precious and semiprecious stones (Kaphle, 2003) which are available in the country. Promotion of mechanized gemstone mines for better quality gems and their cutting, polishing facilities in the country and proper marketing of finished gemstones should get high priority. The value will be added tremendously (from 50 to >100 times) once the raw gems are properly cut into attractive shape, size and brightness by proper polishing. Considering the value and importance of gemstones in the country the gem cutting and polishing industries should get special privilege to establish the gem industries. Since infrastructure development works are going on in the remote virgin areas it is envisaged that within next few years time more gemstone deposits will be found and gem industries will be established which can contribute substantially in the economic development of the country. There is no Gemology course in the university level in Nepal. The Government of Nepal and the University Authority should think about its importance and include it in the university course and organize regular training courses on gemology, gem cutting, polishing and marketing etc.


OCCURRENCES AND THEIR QUALITY

 

            Most of the gemstones are known mainly from the Higher Himalayan regions and very few of them from the Lesser Himalayan regions of Nepal. Almost all the known Himalayan precious stones like Ruby and Sapphire occur in strongly tectonized lenses of saccharoidal dolomite within the highly metamorphosed rocks lying immediately below the Main Central Thrust (MCT) or in the MCT zones. Similarly, Garnet prospects occur in strongly tectonized lenses of chlorite-biotite- garnet schist/ garnet mica schist that occur near to the MCT. Inky blue Kyanite is common in the kyanite/ sillimanite bearing schist in the Higher Himalayan Crystalline rocks as well as in few cases locally in kynite schist in the Lesser Himalaya. Whereas Tourmaline, Aquamarine/ Beryl, Quartz crystals, Feldspar, etc. occur in the complex zoned pegmatites, which have either discordant or concordant relation to the high-grade metamorphic country rocks in the vicinity of MCT (Fig.1) and in the crystalline Klippe. Basset (1984) did first geological study of Corundum in Ganesh Himal area. Bank et al. (1988) reported very fine gem quality Ruby in Nepal. Harding and Scarrett (1986) described about the Ruby occurrences in Nepal and Robinson et al. (1992) confirmed Ruby deposits in Chumar. Niedermayer et al. (1993) presented an overview on gems of Nepal and described Corundum deposits. Joshi (1985), Aryal (1988), Tamrakar (1990), Einfalt et al (1995) from DMG also conducted gemstone exploration in different parts of Sankhuwasabha, Taplejung, Jajrkot, Manang, Kathmandu, Dhadhing, Rasuwa and reported gemstone occurrences in their reports/ papers. During their field investigations they have noted that at many localities haphazard and illegal mining of gemstones by the untrained and unqualified local people (sometime using explosives) without any technical knowhow has resulted considerable loss of the valuable gemstones and consequent environmental degradation in the region .


GEMSTONES AND THEIR TYPES

            On the basis of their specific physical characteristics, chemical and polishing properties and market value the gemstones are mainly divided into two types as (a) precious stones e.g. Diamond, Ruby, Sapphire, Topaz etc. and (b) semiprecious stones e.g. Tourmaline, Aquamarine/ Beryl, Zircon, Garnet, Kyanite, Amethyst, Citrine, Smoky quartz (quartz crystals), Spinel, Danburite, Amazonite,  etc. Gemstones which are found in different parts of Nepal are briefly described below.

Fig.1: Gemstone occurrences/ prospects/ deposits and mines in Nepal (Kaphle, 2007)

Precious stones
            Among the precious stones only Ruby, Sapphire (Corundum), and Topaz are recorded in some specific locations in Nepal Himalaya. Diamond has not been yet recorded in Nepalese territory.

Rubies and Sapphire (Corundum)
            Gem quality but generally small crystals of light red to red Ruby (Figs. 2, 2a, and 2b) and light to dark blue coloured Sapphire are known from Chumar and Ruyil villages in northern remote parts of Dhading district (UN/ESCAP, with DMG, 1993) and few other localities in Shelghar, Shonglahas, Pola and Sublay in Rasuwa district. They occur in highly tectonized intensely folded en-echelon lenses of saccharoidal dolomite within the high-grade metamorphic rocks close to MCT (Smith et al. 1997, Basset 1987). Corundum (raw ruby) is also reported from Ilam (Tamrakar, 1990) and Sapphire from Taplejung districts in eastern Nepal. Mining of these precious stones in Dhading is very difficult due to isolated locations in the far remote areas, high altitude, rugged topography, difficult terrain and harsh weather conditions. Because of crystal morphology, distinctive internal features and their colour-zoning, brightness and wide variety of mineral inclusions rubies from this Himalayan region are very famous in the international market. A. M. Basset (1984) did first geological study of corundum in Ganesh Himal area, central Nepal. Later on Himalayan Gems, Nepal acquired the leases to Chumar and Ruyil areas and also did gem mining in 1985 (Basset 1985). Later on it has left mining activities due to difficult terrain and mining conditions. However, rudimentary illegal mining activities of such valuable minerals continued without any mining license and technical knowhow in Shelghar and Shonglahas areas and destroyed the valuable resources. Bassett has also reported two other potential areas for Corundum in Pola and Sublay. Therefore, through assessment and proper mining methods with technical advice is warranted to run the mine. At present no one has obtained the prospecting or mining license of Ruby and Sapphire from DMG.

 
Fig. 2: Ruby from Chumar mine (Dhading) Fig. 2a: Raw Ruby                   2b: Ruby Crystal and cut & polished gem
                                    (Photo source: Smith et al. 1997)

Topaz
            It is not as common as tourmaline, aquamarine and garnet in Nepal. Very few transparent straw-yellow and green coloured topaz are reported only from Rasuwa district. Because of its high hardness and bright colour it is suitable to cut into gems. There is no topaz mine in Nepal.

Semiprecious stones

            Semiprecious stones like Tourmaline, Beryl, Aquamarine, Garnet, Spinel, Amazon stone (feldspar), Agate, Jespar, Quartz crystals, (smoky quartz, amethyst, citrine, and rock crystals); inky blue Kyanite, etc. are known from Higher and Lesser Himalayan regions of Nepal. Some of the mines are already closed and few of them are in operation (Tables 1 and 2).

Tourmaline
            Five distinct types of tourmaline occur in Nepal (Basset 1979). The black tourmaline (schorlite) is commonly recorded in pegmatites, granites, and gneisses but most of them are not suitable for gem cutting. Gem quality distinctive multihued Tourmaline (Elbaite) of Hyakule and Phakuwa areas (UN/ESCAP, with DMG, 1993), eastern Nepal pink (Fig. 3), bright green, light orange sometimes with repeated colour banding olive green with amber coloured core in Hyakule, Sankhuwasabha are known since 1934 Bihar - Nepal earthquake, which triggered landslides and exposed the gem bearing pegmatites. Since then small-scale mines of Aquamarine, Beryl, Tourmaline and Garnet are in operation. It is estimated that over 13,000 kg gem tourmaline has been already mined from Hyakule over a period of five decade (Tamrakar 1990). But at present most of them are closed due to difficult mining condition, unavailability of large size gem quality stones and security reason. Pegmatites of Langtang valley (Rasuwa), Naje (Manang), Garkhakot (Jajarkot), Ikabu and Lodantar (Taplejung) and few places in Panchthar are also promising for tourmaline. Some gem quality green coloured tourmaline bearing pegmatites are known from Jajarkot district and two tourmaline mines at Garkhakot area in Jajarkot are in operation (Fig. 4). Raw gemstones from these areas are mined, cut into proper size and polished for gem for sale. Four prospecting licenses and two mining licenses have been issued/ renewed by DMG in FY2066/67. Tourmaline is mined from two mines but production of tourmaline in 2010 (FY 2066/67) is not known.

          
Fig. 3: Raw, cut and polished pink tourmaline from Hyakule.   Fig. 4: Tourmaline crystals in pegmatite, Jajarkot. (DMG, 2000 &2004)

Aquamarine and Beryl
            Aquamarine and Beryl of Ikabu and Lodantar areas in Taplejung district are highly prized. Similarly, hambergite, danburite, and ijolite are the important ones. In this area, beryl and transparent quartz crystal mines are in operation where as the aquamarine and tourmaline mines are still in development stage. Gem quality clear blue aquamarine of Phakuwa village in Sankhuwasabha district (Fig. 5a), aquamarine/ beryl (Fig. 5b) and few green coloured tourmalines from Naje and few other localities in Manang district (Einfalt et al. 1995), western Nepal are famous. Lekhpatan and Tikachaur in Jajarkot; Jagat, Panchmane, Kagtigaon in Kathmandu; Baguwa, Tarkeghyang, Nibuwagaon in Sindhupalchok, Khaptad (Bajhang), and few places of Darchula and Panchthar are the other known places for Beryl/ Aquamarine. The author along with Dr. Einfalt studied some gem bearing pegmatites in Phakuwa, Hyakule (Sankhuwasabha), Naje (Manang) and author in some parts of Taplejung and Jagat in Kathmandu districts. During field investigation they had also recorded that because of haphazard and illegal mining using explosives, without any technical knowhow in mining the local people in Naje has destroyed the whole pegmatite bodies/ prospect, lots of valuable gems (green Tourmaline and marine blue Aquamarine/ beryl) were lost. Now the chance of recovery of large size crystals is very rare.

            Beryl is also a source of beryllium. Beryl/ Aquamarine crystals are cut and used as gem. Attractive colour, brightness, size, shape counts the price of the gemstone. DMG has issued 2 prospecting licenses for Aquamarine. Department of Mines and Geology as well as the local authority should be very careful about the illegal mining activities and destruction of national natural resources and national properties. Present production of Aquamarine and Beryl in 2010 (FY 2066/67) is not known.

                               
Fig. 5a: Aquamarine from Phakuwa, Sankhuwasabha (DMG 2004).   Fig. 5b: Beryl from Taplejung and Manang
Amazon stone/ Amazonite (Feldspar)
            Light green coloured Amazon stone (Fig. 6, coloured microcline feldspar) is recorded in the pegmatites of Hyakule and Phakuwa in Sankhuwasabha, Naje in Manang and some parts of Taplejung. The attractive coloured transparent crystals can be cut into gemstone and other ornaments. There is no mineable deposit of Amazon stone known so far, however, since in many cases it occurs together with tourmaline and quartz crystals in pegmatite it can also be mined at the same time.

 

Epidote

            Elongated light yellowish green or pistacho-green transparent crystals of epidote are recorded in crystalline metamorphic rocks like epidote-garnet-schist, epidote bearing amphibolite, and gneiss in Manang district. There is no epidote mine in Nepal till to day.

 

            Small to fine shining crystals of Zircon, Rutile and Sphene along with garnet, magnetite, + placer gold are recorded in almost all the heavy concentrate samples from the major rivers of Nepal. They are semiprecious stones but because of their small size they are not used as gemstone.

 

Kyanite

            Kyanites are present in high-grade metamorphic schist and gneiss in the Higher Himalayan regions. They are known mainly from Dolakha, Sankhuwasabha, Taplejung, Rasuwa, Dhading, Bajhang, Jajarkot and Achham districts. Elongated tabular inky blue Kyanite crystals are cut for gems (Fig. 7). They are also used to manufacture spark plugs and other highly refractory porcelains in the industries. Kyanite also has many industrial uses. Four small-scale Kyanite mines are in operation in Daha and Suneri areas in Jajarkot and Barah area of Aachham districts. Only elongated tabular inky blue Kyanite crystals of these areas are cut for gem and the rest are used in various industries. Jaipur of India is the main market of Kyanite and other raw gemstones. DMG has issued 15 prospecting licenses and 4 mining licenses of Kyanite. It is mined from four mines in Nepal but present production of Kyanite in FY2066/67 (Gem grade and Industrial grade) is not known.


             
  Fig. 6: Amazone stone (Feldspar), Taplejung             Fig.7: Elongated Kyanite crystal, Daha, Jajarkot.

 

Garnet

            Almost all the prospective garnets are recovered from strongly tectonized lenses and pods of chlorite-biotite- garnet schist within high-grade metamorphic rock sequence mainly in the Higher Himalayan regions in Sankhuwasabha, Taplejung, Ilam, Dhadhing, Rasuwa, Jajarkot, etc. and few other districts(UN/ESCAP, with DMG, 1993). Deep red or red coloured almandine, hessonite and pyrope garnet are mined mainly in Sankhuwasabha and Taplejung districts in eastern Nepal. Due to highly fractured nature only selected pieces are cut for gem and the rest are generally used to make beads (Fig. 8a) and abrasive powder. More than six small-scale garnet mines were in operation since last few decades in Budhekhani, Bhote Khola, Hanglaung, Khining, Sunaula, Swachi Khani in Sankhuwasabha district, Eastern Nepal (Fig. 8b). At that time of the production of raw garnet was up to 37mt till 1985. However, at present none of them are in operation due to lack of technical knowhow, difficult mining condition and security reason. At present only one prospecting license has been issued by DMG.

Fig. 8a: Garnet crystal and beads made up of Garnet.          Fig. 8b: Raw Garnet from Sankhuwasabha
 (Source: DMG mineralogical museum, DMG, 2000)

Quartz crystals (Rock crystal)
            Quartz is a common rock-forming mineral. Quartz crystals are known from the pegmatites located in different parts of Taplejung, Ilam, Sankhuwasabha, Nuwakot, Dhadhing, Rasuwa, Manang, Dailekh, Jajarkot and Darchula districts. Smokey Quartz crystal, rose/ pink quartz (Amethyst), yellow quartz (Citrine) and colourless perfect clear crystal (Rock crystal) are the gem variety that are available in Nepal. They are very good to cut and polish for gems. Colourless quartz crystals (Fig. 9) and dog tooth spar are also used as decorative pieces and export to foreign countries.

Fig. 9: Quartz crystals (DMG 2004) from Taplejung, eastern Nepal (Kaphle2008)

            At present only two small-scale quartz crystals mines are in operation in Khejemi/ Sirku (Taplejung) and Raluka (Nuwakot). High-grade quartz (SiO2 >99%) is used for ferrosilicon production. Industrial application of quartz is in foundry, as flux in still mill, chemicals, refractory, fillers, glass manufacture, sandblast, abrasive etc. Perfect clear quartz crystals without any cracks and inclusions are used in optical apparatus and control the frequency of radio circuits. From DMG record two quartz mines are in operation/ production but present production of Quartz crystals (Gem quality and Industrial quality) in 2010 (FY2066/67) is not known.

Jasper
            It is cryptocrystalline quartz usually with red colour due to hematite inclusions. Jasper is not mined so far in Nepal. However, it has been recorded in the heavy concentrate samples collected from major rivers.

Agate
            It is a variegated variety of chalcedony with nice looking alternating layers of chalcedony and opal. It is recorded at very few places in Sankhuwasabha and Taplejung districts. But they are not yet mined due to their very small occurrences. Present production of agate is not known.

GEMSTONE INDUSTRIES


            In 1985 Dr. A.M. Basset introduced the first modern faceting (cutting and polishing) machine in Nepal and started cutting the local gemstones. In the following years few lapidary works and gem shops were opened in Kathmandu. At present registered gem cutting and polishing industries like (1) Himali Ratna Udyog, Dharan, eastern Nepal (2) Himalayan Gems, Nepal Pvt. Ltd., Kathmandu (3) Birendra Thakali, Pokhara (4) Mohan Shrestha, Kathmandu (5) Udaya Tamrakar, Kathmandu (6) Kohinoor gem industry, Kathmandu etc. are the main ones which are in operation in Nepal (Kaphle, 2003). Now a day a number of gem shops are running their business mainly in Kathmandu, Pokhara and other major cities.

GEMSTONE MINES AND THEIR PRODUCTION

            There is a sharp irregularity in gemstone mining and production in Nepal. The Mining Lease holders did not show regular production in exact amount as they mined every year and suddenly they leave mining activities. Although the Himalayan Gems are very famous and their demand is very high in the international market but the production is very low and could not fulfill the demand. Available data on the raw gemstone production shown by the lease holders to DMG in different year are presented in the Tables 1 and 2 below.

Table 1: Exploration and operating mines of gemstones in Nepal (FY2066/67 BS / 2009/2010)

Mineral Commodity
Location & Number of deposits
Prospects/ Deposit  in exploration stage and Prospecting License
Operating Mines/ and Mining License
Preset status
Exploration/ Mining
Production from the mines
Ruby/ Corundum
Dhadhing and Rasuwa
1 prospecting license issued
No record
NK
NK
Sapphire
Dhadhing and Rasuwa
No license issued
No record
NK
NK
Aquamarine/ Beryl
Sankhuwasabha-1
Taplejung-1
2 Prospecting licenses issued
No record
2 Exploration stage
No production
Tourmaline
Jajarkot-2
Sankhuwasabha-2
10 Prospecting  license issued
- Barabise (Sankhuwasabha) -1
- Garkhakot (Jajarkot)-1,
2 Mines in operation
4 Exploration stage
GQ= NA
IQ=NA
Kyanite
Jajarkot-3
Achham-1
15 prospecting license issued
- Daha (Jajarkot) - 3
- Achham-1
4 Mines in operation
15 Exploration stage
GQ=NA
IQ=NA
Garnet
Sankhuwasabha-1
1 Prospecting license issued
No record
1 Exploration stage
No production
Quartz crystal
Khajenim (Taplejung,)-1 Raluka (Nuwakot)-1
8 Prospecting license issued
-Khajenim (Taplejung) -1
- Raluka (Nuwakot) -1
2 Mines in operation
8 Exploration stage
GQ=NA
IQ=NA
Source: DMG, Planning Section, 2010.    GQ = Gem quality    IQ = Industrial quality                             NA = Not available  NK = Not known

Table 2: Gemstone (Raw) production in Nepal in last 23 years (From 1988 to 2007)
Production year
Ruby & Sapphire
Tourmaline
Aquamarine & Beryl
Garnet
Kyanite
Quartz crystal
Remarks/ Total Production
1988
NA
GQ=1.9kg
IQ=20.2kg
GQ=10kg
IQ=390kg
NA
NA
NA
Total=GQ=11.9kg
           IQ=410.20kg
1989
NA
NA
900kg
NA
NA
NA
Total=900kg
1990
NA
GQ=200kg
IQ=2mt
GQ=50g
IQ=0.5mt
GQ=NK
IQ=NK
GQ=NA
IQ=NA
12.5mt
Total= GQ=250kg
            IQ=15mt
1991
NA
GQ=500kg
IQ=4mt
NA
GQ=NK
IQ=NK
GQ= NA
IQ= NA
10.62mt
Total = GQ=500kg
             IQ=14.62mt
1992
NA
GQ=100kg
IQ=1mt
NA
GQ=NK
IQ=NK
GQ= NA IQ= NA
6mt
Total = GQ=100kg
             IQ=7mt
1993
NA
GQ=250g
IQ=0.25mt (?)
GQ=250g
IQ=0.25mt (?)
GQ=NK
IQ=NK
GQ= NA
IQ= NA
5mt
Total = GQ=500kg
             IQ=5.5mt (?)
1994
NA
GQ=NA
IQ=NA
NA
GQ=NK
IQ=NK
GQ= NA
IQ= NA
2.204mt
Total= GQ=NA
            IQ=2.204mt
1995
NA
GQ=250kg
IQ=2.05mt
NA
GQ=NK
IQ=NK
GQ= NA
IQ= NA
1.864mt

Total = GQ= 250kg
            IQ= 3.914mt
1996
NA
GQ=950kg
IQ=2.95mt
NA
IQ= NA
GQ=NK
IQ=NK
GQ= NA
IQ= NA
1.5mt
Total = GQ= 950kg
             IQ= 3.45
1997
NA
GQ=500kg
IQ=5mt
GQ= NA
IQ= NA
GQ=NK
IQ=NK
GQ= NA
IQ= NA
3mt
Total = GQ= 500kg
             IQ= 8mt
1998
NA
GQ=500kg
IQ=20mt
GQ= NA
IQ= NA
GQ=NK
IQ=NK
GQ= NA
IQ= NA
2mt
Total = GQ= 500kg
             IQ= 22mt
1999
NA
GQ=500kg
IQ=10mt
GQ= NA
IQ= NA
GQ=NK
IQ=NK
GQ= NA
IQ= NA
3.2mt
Total = GQ= 500kg
              IQ= 13.2mt
2000
NA
GQ=10kg
IQ=1mt
GQ= NA
IQ= NA
GQ=NK
IQ=NK
GQ= NA
IQ= NA
NA
Total = GQ= 10kg
             IQ= 1mt
2001
NA
GQ=NA
IQ=NA
GQ= NA
IQ= NA
GQ=NK
IQ=NK
GQ=1000kg
IQ=10mt
1.13mt
Total = GQ= 1000kg
            IQ= 11.13mt
2002
NA
GQ=NA
IQ=2mt
GQ= NA
IQ= NA
GQ=NK
IQ=NK
GQ=1004kg
IQ=9.4mtmt
GQ=1720kg
IQ=172mt
Total = GQ= 2724kg
             IQ= 183.4mt
2003
NA
GQ=1100kg
IQ=11.5mt
GQ= NA
IQ= NA
GQ=NK
IQ=NK
GQ=420kg
IQ=3.8mt
GQ=1765kg
IQ=176mt
Total = GQ= 3285kg
             IQ= 191.3mt
2004
NA
GQ=NA
IQ=NA
GQ= NA
IQ= NA
GQ=NK
IQ=NK
GQ=1150kg
IQ=10.4mt
GQ=1215kg
IQ=121mt
Total = GQ= 2365kg
             IQ= 131.4mt
2005
NA
GQ=700gm
IQ=7mt
GQ= NA
IQ= NA
GQ=NK
IQ=NK
GQ=2880kg
IQ=26.82mt
GQ=1092kg
IQ=109.2mt
Total=GQ4672kg
           IQ=133.02mt
2006
NA
GQ=660kg
IQ=6.6mt
GQ= NA
IQ= NA
GQ=NK
IQ=NK
GQ=2300kg
IQ=20.7mt
GQ=949kg
IQ=9.49mt
Total= GQ=3.91kg
             IQ=36.79mt
2007
NA
GQ= NA
IQ= NA
GQ= NA
IQ= NA
GQ= NA
IQ= NA
GQ=NA
IQ=NA
GQ=NA
IQ=NA
Total GQ= 2715kg
           IQ= 21.19mt
Source: DMG, Planning Section, 2010.   GQ = Gem quality    IQ = Industrial quality                 NK = Not known NA=Not Available


CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION

            It is very clear from the published documents, reports and existing available information from different sources that there are a number of gemstone prospects in Nepal Himalaya. Till this time only surfacial study of few gemstone occurrences has been done based on the saying of the local people. Therefore available valuable gemstone (precious and semiprecious stones) resource remained unexplored and unexploited. Therefore, a special team should be managed to asses all the available information and do field mapping as well as gemstone exploration in the geologically most prospective areas in the Higher Himalayan as well as in the Lesser Himalayan regions is urgently need to identify the economic deposits.

            Government should be very strict and give heavy punishment to those who is running illegal and haphazard mining activities to save the national valuable natural resources available in the country. Exploration or mining license should be given only to those entrepreneurs who have the technical manpower and proper equipment for gem mining. Regular checking from the local authority, and inspection, monitoring and supervision by the Department of Mines and Geology to know the mining condition, equipment and man power used, safety measure, methodology applied, and the quantity of production, environment issues etc. to flourish gemstone of the country.

            DMG should regularly publish all the updated information/ data on the exploration license, mining license, and annual production of different mineral commodities and also highlight on the possibility of national and international market so that government can attract interested entrepreneurs/ private companies to invest in mineral exploration, development and mining sector.   

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

            The author would like to extend his sincere thanks to Mr. S. P. Mahato, Director General for providing access to the library and mineralogical museum of DMG. Cooperation of Mr. H. R. Khan, DDG, Mr. K. D. Jha, Chief Planning Section, and Mr. D. R. Khadka, Senior Geologist of DMG to prepare the paper is highly acknowledged."


REFERENCES

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 Harding, R. R. and Scarratt, K. 1986, A description of ruby from Nepal. Jour. Gemology, v. 22, No.1, pp. 3-10.
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