Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Myanmar: At least 70 missing in jade mine landslide - BBC News

jade mine  Hpakant

At least 70 people are missing after a landslide occurred at a jade mining site in northern Myanmar.

The landslide occurred in the Hpakant area of Kachin state at around 04:00 local time on Wednesday (21:30 GMT Tuesday).

Rescue operations are currently underway, with most of the victims believed to be illegal jade miners.

Myanmar is the world's biggest source of jade but its mines have seen numerous accidents over the years.

Jade mining is banned in Hpakant, but locals often defy regulations, driven by lack of employment and impoverished conditions that have worsened from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Several days ago, at least 10 unskilled miners went missing in a landslide at a jade block in Hpakant.

In 2020, more than 160 people - most of whom were migrants - died in one of the worst disasters in Hpakant after mining waste collapsed into a lake.

A new gemstone mining law was passed in 2018, but critics say the government has too few inspectors with only limited authority to stop illegal practices.

Myanmar's jade trade is reported to be worth more than $30bn (£24bn) a year, with Hpakant being the site of the world's biggest jade mine.

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