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170 dead in Myanmar Jade mine

Myanmar Jade mine disaster

170 artisanal miners have reportedly died in a jade mine in North Myanmar after a land slide caused flooding to an open pit mine where workers were scouring for jade.

The incident occurred in the Hpakant region 950km north of Yangon. The region is home to the country’s jade mines who are largely mined by migrant workers. The latest incident is reportedly the worst mining incident the country has faced in recent years.

With mine safety standards hampered by corruption and lack of enforcement by a government ( in part) controlled by the military, Myanmar’s Jade industry is a known killer of mine workers.

Catholic Cardinal Charles Bo of Yangon said last week “Those who died were not only buried under a landslide of the mountain but by the landslide of injustice.”

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“Pope Francis has raised his voice against the never-ending tsunami of economic and environmental injustice against the poor all over the world. Those who perished were sacrificed on the altar of greed, by utter negligence and arrogance of companies that continue to dehumanize the poor of this land,” he continued.

The industry has been characterised by mass fatalities including the death of 100 workers in a 2015 fall of ground. Another 50 were killed in 2019 in another catastrophic mudslide mining incident. Another 14 mineworkers died in a landslide eleven months ago.

Image: Zaw Moe Htet/AFP

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