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News > Myanmar

Over 120 Deaths as Myanmar Jade Mine Collapse Buries Miners

  • Rescue team wading through a valley flooded by mudslide, Myanmar, July 2, 2020.

    Rescue team wading through a valley flooded by mudslide, Myanmar, July 2, 2020. | Photo: EFE

Published 2 July 2020

Workers were collecting stones when a "muddy wave" caused by heavy rain buried them.

At least 126 people have died Thursday in northern Myanmar with more feared dead after a heap of mining waste collapsed into a lake and buried dozens under mud and water.


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By late Thursday afternoon, search and rescue workers had recovered 126 bodies, the country’s fire service department said in a Facebook post, but more were missing it added.

“Other bodies are in the mud,” Tar Lin Maung, an Information Ministry official, told Reuters. “The numbers are going to rise.”

In a statement posted on social media, the Armed Forces Commander-in-chief General Min Aung Hlaing, said military officers would continue the rescue efforts.

The miners were collecting stones in the jade-rich Hpakantarea of Kachin state when a "muddy wave" caused by heavy rain buried them, according to the fire service.

Fatal landslides and other deadly accidents are common in the poorly regulated mines of Hpakant where the victims are often workers from impoverished communities looking for scraps left behind by big firms. 

About 100 people were killed in a 2015 collapse which strengthened calls to regulate the industry. Another 50 died in 2019.

The government of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi pledged to clean up the industry when it took power in 2016, but activists say little has changed.

International NGO Global Witness estimated that the industry was worth some US$ 31 billion in 2014, although very little reached state coffers.

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