Turkey- Myanmar: 1 jade miner killed 10 feared missing

(MENAFN- The Journal Of Turkish Weekly) At least one jade miner has been killed and 10 others are feared missing by locals of a northern Myanmar town near the site of a landslide that killed at least 114 people last month.

The Irrawaddy news service cited a police officer Tuesday as saying that one person had been confirmed dead since the collapse of a dump pile in La Mong Kone village of Hpakant township the day before.

“The landslide moved slowly so most of the people working on the waste pile had time to run for their lives” he said.

“According to witnesses he fell down from a cliff and was buried deeply” he added warning of the threat of more landslides in the area.

Khin Maung a miner who witnessed the collapse told The Irrawaddy that around 20 people had been mining for jade residue at the time of the incident. “The waste pile slowly slid down with people shouting and running away. Some escaped but some did not” Khin Maung added.

Last month at least 114 people were killed on a Saturday when a 200-foot (61-meter) mountain of dump soil from another mine in Hpakant collapsed onto miners and houses below.

Around 100 others were estimated to be missing when authorities called off search efforts.

Hpakant is a major source of high quality jade that is feeding relentless demand across the border in China.

The workers in the mining town are largely internal migrants who sift through the rubble dumped by jade mining companies in search of overlooked fragments of the precious gem.

But collapses in Hpakant -- where the industry faces little regulation -- are common: nine died in a smaller landslide there in March.

Global Witness a non-profit group that campaigns against environmental crimes has branded Myanmar’s shady jade industry a massive natural resource “heist”.

In October the group estimated that corrupt military officials cronies and drug lords controlled an industry worth at least $31 billion in 2014.

“Big firms licenced by the government are making a killing” said Mike Davis Asia director at Global Witness.

“They are grabbing jade worth tens or hundreds of millions a year while leaving locals and migrant workers to run the gauntlet of deadly landslides caused by the companies’ reckless dumping practices.”

The Journal Of Turkish Weekly

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