The collapse in a jade mine in Burma occurred during the early morning of December 22 in Hpakant in Kachin state and authorities have reported one person dead, 25 injured and between 70 and 100 people missing.
A rescue worker working on the landslide said that “About 70 to 100 people are missing in the landslide. We have sent 25 injured people to the hospital, while we have found one dead.”
A month ago the collapse of the coal mine in Russia shocked the world, where rescue teams found a survivor, when now some 200 rescuers are working to recover bodies, some in boats to search for possible bodies in a nearby lake, from the collapse in jade mine in Burma.
Landslide in jade mine in Burma
For its part, the Kachin News newspaper said that about 20 miners died in the incident, that according to the fire services, firefighters from Hpakant and the neighboring town of Lone Khin were participating in the rescue operations, although they did not offer any balance. of victims.
But the reality is that dozens of people die each year working in Burma’s lucrative and poorly regulated jade industry, which often uses poorly paid migrants to extract China’s coveted gem.
The trade in this precious green stone generates more than 30,000 million dollars annually, almost half of the country’s Gross Domestic Product, and it is increasingly linked to illicit activities such as drug and arms trafficking.
Frequent landslides in Kachin
The poor and remote border region of Kachin has a lunar landscape due to the exploitation of large miners, landslides are frequent.
In 2020, heavy monsoon rains caused the worst accident of its kind on record, when 300 miners were engulfed by a landslide in the Hpakant massif, the heart of the Burmese jade industry.
Jade stones and smuggling
A very small part of jade sales ends up in the Burmese state coffers, as most of the quality jade is smuggled to China, where demand for this gem, symbolic of prosperity, is insatiable.
However, it does generate money from the military, the perpetrators of a coup in February, who have controlled access to the Hpakant region since the early 1990s and run numerous mines.
Another unavoidable actor in the sector is the Kachin Independence Army, a rebel faction in combat for decades with the military that also seeks to benefit from jade.
The fight to take over this sector was intensified by the military coup and has trapped the jade merchants, forced to continue working by the army despite the risk of rebel attacks and also landslides, such as the current collapse of the jade mine in Burma
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