Disasters & Accidents

1 dead, 50 missing in Myanmar jade mine collapse

Bangkok, Dec 22 (EFE).- One person was killed and 50 remained missing in an overnight jade mine collapse in northern Myanmar, a rescue worker said Wednesday.

The incident occurred Tuesday night in the remote village of Hpakant in Kachin state.

The landslide dragged the miners working there, said the rescuer, who did not want to be named.

The member of the rescue team said they had recovered one body.

The rescuer said the number of missing would not exceed 50 since not many miners worked in the cold morning hours.

The local media had earlier said up to 100 people were missing in the tragedy.

The rescue teams, who arrived within hours of the accident, struggled with many problems in carrying out their work since it is an old mine used as a landfill.

During the weekend, another similar accident left six dead in the same area, the largest jade mine in the world, the local Mizzima portal reported.

Mining-related accidents are common in Hpakant, where miners work in extremely precarious conditions.

In July 2020, more than 160 miners were trapped in a landslide while extracting the jade during heavy rains.

In 2019, at least 54 people died from a landslide in another part of the mining area, located about 800 kilometers (497 miles) north of the capital city of Naypyidaw.

Thousands of impoverished people from all over the country flock to the jade mines – to which the foreign press is not allowed access – searching for fortune or livelihood.

But in most cases, the benefits are scarce, and the risks are high.

Myanmar is the world’s largest producer of jadeite, a prized variety of jade extracted mainly in the Kachin mountains and enjoys a high demand in neighboring China. EFE


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