Another landslide in Hpakant jade mine leaves over 200 missing, Myanmar

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Another deadly landslide has hit Myanmar's jade-rich Hpakant region on May 23, 2016, leaving as many as 200 workers buried under tailings. 14 bodies were found under the rubble as of late May 24.

The latest in a series of deadly disasters occurred around 20:15 local time, and was caused by heavy rain, the deputy officer of the Hpakant township government, Daw Nilar Myint, said.

According to U Sin Wah Naw, a member of the Thingara social aid group, as many as 200 freelance scavengers continued the search for precious stones on the banks of the mine after a company in charge of the site had ceased operations for the day.

“The survivors said there were about 200 people working the mine when the landslide happened. A final death toll has not been confirmed, but the search for the missing has been called off due to continuing heavy rain, ” she said for The Myanmar Times.

Approximately US$31 billion worth of jade was unearthed by mostly military-backed mining companies last year, according to international watchdog Global Witness. The figure for the last decade could be more than $120 billion.

Hpakant’s hills in Myanmar's Kachin State, a region once lush with jungle and woven by clear streams, have the world’s largest known deposits of jade. It is estimated that up to 90% of the world’s jadeite is mined there.

Video courtesy DVBTVenglish

Featured image: Hpakant miners back at work after deadly landslide – November 2015. Credit: DVBTVenglish.

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