Burmese state media report the military government wants to increase production of gems and jade, one of the few sources of foreign currency for the isolated nation.
Lieutenant-General Thein Sein is quoted in The New Light of Myanmar newspaper as saying the country needs to boost its production and sale of gems because other nations are paying more attention to the trade.
He spoke of the benefits of the industry to the national income and private firms and urged the government's gem industry committee, the Leading Committee for Development of Myanmar Gems Industry, to speed up mining activities without delay.
Lieutenant-General Thein Sein is one of the military junta's most powerful members.
He made the announcement during a gem committee meeting on Monday. Burma is one of Asia's poorest countries.
However, it has vast natural resources, including gems, minerals and highly prized teak wood.
Information for this report is provided by AFP.