Wednesday, 12 Aug 2020

At least 100 dead in landslide at Myanmar jade mine: Officials

YANGON (REUTERS, XINHUA) – The death toll from a landslide in northern Myanmar jade mine on Thursday (July 2) has risen to 100, as more bodies were being recovered.

The miners were collecting stones in the jade-rich Hpakant area of Kachin state when a wave of mud caused by heavy rain buried them, the fire service department said.

“An over 304-metre high cliff collapsed, burying local jade scavengers,” a rescue worker at the scene was quoted by the Information Ministry as saying.

Deadly landslides and other accidents are common in the poorly regulated mines of Hpakant.

Media have reported scores of people killed in Hpakant in recent years, many of them freelance “jade pickers” who scour tailings – the residue from mining – for stones that have been missed by larger operators.

In November 2015, a similar accident in the region left at least 116 jade scavengers dead.

Official sales of jade in Myanmar were worth €671 million (S$1.05 billion) in 2016-17, according to data published by the government as part of an Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.

But experts believe the true value of the industry, which mainly exports to China, is much larger.

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