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50 believed to be dead in Myanmar mine mudslide

jade mine disaster myanmar
The jade mine disaster area. Image: Twitter @ajplus

50 mine workers are believed to have died following a mudslide at a jade mine in the northern part of Myanmar. An MP from the region has told media sources that more than “50 people are believed to have died after a mudslide at a jade mining site.” The incident has also reportedly buried 40 vehicles on the site.

As of this morning, three bodies have been recovered, but 54 mine workers remain missing, according to Tin Soe.

The jade mining accident happened late at night on Monday in the Hpakant area of Kachin state when a large waste pile collapsed following heavy rain. Mr Soe said confirmed that the victims of the disaster worked for two mining companies, indicating they were formally employed rather than traditional scavengers. The two companies involved were Shwe Nagar Koe Kaung and Myanmar Thura Gems.

He said it would be difficult to recover the bodies from under the mud. “They won’t survive,” said the politician. “It is not possible because they are buried under mud.

“It is very difficult to retrieve the bodies.”

Hpakant’s fire brigade chief Aye Thein said a search was mounted after dawn on Tuesday and rescue efforts were still ongoing.

Myanmar’s Ministry of Information has confirmed on Facebook that 54 workers were still missing.

The Myanmar jade industry is driven by China’s appetite for the semi-precious stone.

Northern Myanmar’s abundant natural resources, including jade, timber, gold and amber, help finance both sides of a decades-long civil war between ethnic Kachin rebels and the military.

A fatal landslide also occurred in the region in November 2015, killing at least 116 jade scavengers with about 100 more missing.

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