At least 32 dead after landslide at Myanmar jade mine

Public TV English
Public TV English
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NAYPYIDAW (Myanmar): At least 32 people have died in a landslide at a jade mine in northern Myanmar, CNN reported while citing local fire services.

A landslide occurred on Sunday in the isolated and hilly village of Hpakant in the northern state of Kachin, according to Sa Tay Za of the Hpakant Fire Service Department on Wednesday. All of the bodies recovered were men and were returned to their relatives except one, Za added.

The collapse of a sand cliff had sent water surging into a nearby lake and trapped the miners, the state-run newspaper Global New Light of Myanmar reported.

About 70 per cent of the world’s jade is produced in Myanmar, and Hpakant is home to some of the biggest and most profitable jade mines in the world, worth billions of dollars, according to CNN.

The industry, fueled largely by demand from neighbouring China, is rife with conflict, corruption, exploitation and environmentally destructive practices, according to the non-profit watchdog group Global Witness.

The group estimated Myanmar’s jade industry was worth about $31 billion in 2014, nearly half of the country’s official GDP that year, CNN reported.

However, the industry’s exact value is unknown as it is largely unregulated. The Natural Resource Governance Institute, an advocacy group, has ranked Myanmar’s gemstone sector as one of the most opaque in the world.

Miners are often impoverished migrants from other parts of the country and are at constant risk of death and injury from landslides, CNN reported.

More than 160 people died after heavy rain triggered a landslide in a jade mine in Hpakant in 2020. A similar deadly disaster happened in the same area in 2021. (ANI)

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