The government banned the export of raw gemstones from Nepal. The traders now will be allowed to export precious and semi-precious stones with value addition only.

The move is expected to encourage the local gemstone traders to enhance their capacity and export the polished and cut stones that can fetch more foreign currency, director general of the Mines and Geology Sarvajeet Mahato
Earlier there was no restriction on export of raw gemstones, he said, adding that the traders used to export raw precious and semi precious stones that has hit the export earnings.

Currently, most of the traders sell raw gemstones in the Indian market at very low prices, while Indian gemstone traders process and sell them at a very high price in the international market.

The government has planned to help Nepali gemstone traders enhance their capacity by providing them trainings to cut and polish precious and semi-precious gemstones. It is also helping them establish processing plants to encourage traders to export finished products at higher prices.

The government has informed Ministry of Commerce and Supplies, Department of Mines and Geology, Trade and Export Promotion Centre and local administration through Home Ministry.

The Home Ministry has also directed police and local administration to prevent smuggling of raw gemstones, according to chief secretary Lila Mani Poudel.

Likewise, the Department of Mines and Geology is also going to review the guidelines on operation of mines of precious stones.

Nepal is rich in precious and semiprecious stones like quartz, kainite, and ruby extracted from mines in Taplejung, Dhading, Jajarkot, Sankhuwasabha, Bhojpur and Surkhet.

The government receives only Rs 20 per tonne of precious stones, according to the department.

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