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100 Killed in Landslide at Myanmar Jade Mine

  • VOA News

Soldiers carry the bodies of miners killed by a landslide in a jade mining area in Hpakhant, in Myanmar's Kachin state, Nov. 22, 2015.

Soldiers carry the bodies of miners killed by a landslide in a jade mining area in Hpakhant, in Myanmar's Kachin state, Nov. 22, 2015.

Hope is fading fast Monday that any more missing people will be found alive in northern Myanmar, two days after a landslide near a jade mine. Officials say at least 100 people are still missing after the collapse.

Tin Swe Myint, head of the Hpakant Township Administration Department told Reuters, "We just don't know how many people exactly were buried since we don't have any data on people living there." He described the area where the landslide happened as "just a slum" ....with "workers living in makeshift tents."

Rescue workers have recovered nearly 100 bodies following the massive collapse Saturday in Kachin state.

Officials say the collapse occurred when many of the miners were sleeping.

Kachin, located about 950 kilometers northeast of Yangon, Myanmar's biggest city, is home to some of the world's highest-quality jade.

People often risk their lives sifting through the tailings and waste of the mine in the hope of finding a piece of jade to sell.

Global Witness, an organization that investigates the misuse of revenue from natural resources, put the value of Myanmar's jade production as high as $31 billion in 2014. The group says "This figure equates to nearly half of the entire country's GDP [gross national product], and over 46 times national spending on health, yet the local population sees little benefit."

According to a report by Global Witness, Myanmar's jade trade is "secretly controlled by networks of military elites, drug lords and crony companies" tied to the country's "darkest days of junta rule."

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