Upon taking office in 2016, the National League for Democracy-led administration suspended issuing new or extension of existing gemstone licences pending a governance review intended to clean up the sector.
The new law is aimed at eradicating illegal mining and extraction of gems, tackle illicit gemstone trade, and reduce the environmental impact of extraction activities.
The legal text seen by Myanmar Times only covers medium, small and artisanal-scale mining and limits the duration of permits to three, two and one year respectively.
Lawmakers in the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw said large-scale mining is excluded from the legislation because of its negative environmental consequences.
Yet, the law does not specify how to tackle companies which bypass the size restrictions, for example, by applying small or medium-scale licences next to each other.
It also does not address the conflict of interest in state-owned Myanmar Gems Enterprise (MGE), which is critical to the sector’s reform.