Dozens missing after deadly jade mine landslide in Myanmar

World Wednesday 22/December/2021 17:55 PM
By: DW
Dozens missing after deadly jade mine landslide in Myanmar

A landslide at a jade mine in northern Myanmar on Wednesday left one dead and at least 70 missing, according to reports from the rescue team and eyewitnesses.

Local media such as Kachin News Group reported 20 miners had been killed in the landslide. Some reports said there were fears that about 80 people had been swept into a lake by mining waste.

The disaster occurred at around 4 a.m. on Tuesday local time in the Hpakant area of Kachin State.

Authorities arrived around 7 a.m., with around 200 rescuers being involved in the search and rescue operations. Some were using boats to recover bodies from a nearby lake, said agency reports.

"About 70-100 people are missing. We've sent 25 injured people to hospital while we've found one dead," rescue team member Ko Nyi told the AFP news agency.

Poorly managed mines

Myanmar's jade mines are lucrative but poorly managed, and are the sites of frequent accidents and disasters. Landslides are common

in these mines, which draw impoverished workers from across the country.

Last year in July, more than 170 people died as mining waste collapsed into a lake.

The gems that are mined are mostly exported to China, where they are in high demand. Myanmar produces 90% of the world's jade, mostly from the Hpakant region. Rights groups say many of the mining firms are linked to military elites and armed groups.

A report by watchdog group Global Witness said Myanmar's military coup in February has killed hopes of reforms to the unregulated mining industry.