YANGON: At least 15 people have been killed and dozens injured in a landslide at an old jade mine in northern Myanmar, state media reported on Sunday, as rains complicate the search for more victims, reports AFP.
The accident is the latest to strike the multibillion dollar industry centred in Kachin state, the source of most of the world’s jade.The poorly regulated and murky business is fuelled by demand across the border in China where the near-translucent green gem is prized.
But the vast mines and deposits attract impoverished workers who are offered little in the way of protection as they risk life and limb to dig out profits from the soil.
Those who died were “searching for jade” at a defunct mine on Saturday in Hpakant township when they were hit by a landslide, the Ministry of Information said on its official website.
Fourteen bodies were recovered and a 15th person died in hospital, it said. More than 45 people were being treated for injuries.
Long Long, a 30-year-old resident of Hpakant, told AFP the landslide happened in a sub-township called Lone Khin.