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Dozens killed by landslide at Myanmar jade mine

The site in Hpakant is in Kachin state, the center of the world’s biggest and most lucrative jade mining industry.
/ Source: Associated Press

YANGON, Myanmar — A landslide at a jade mine in northern Myanmar killed 50 people Thursday, the central government said, although a local lawmaker and rescue workers said many more had died.

The Ministry of Information cited the local fire service when giving the death toll at the site of the landslide in Hpakant in Kachin state. The area is around 600 miles north of Myanmar’s biggest city, Yangon, and is the center of the world’s biggest and most lucrative jade mining industry.

However, a lawmaker from Hpakant, Khin Maung Myint, said local rescue services told him 99 bodies had been recovered and 54 injured people were sent to three hospitals.

Meanwhile rescue workers said at least 113 people have been killed in a landslide at a jade mining site in northern Myanmar. At least another five people have been injured in Thursday's accident, said Khin Maung Win, chairman of Thingaha rescue group working at the site now.

Rescuers carry a recovered body of a victim of a landslide from a jade mining area in Hpakant, northern Myanmar, on Thursday.Myanmar Fire Service Department / AP

The website of 7Day News Journal reported earlier that 200 people were unaccounted for.

Other details of the accident were not immediately available.

Accidents at such mining sites causing multiple casualties are not rare.

The victims are normally freelance miners who settle near giant mounds of discarded earth that has been mined in bulk by heavy machinery.

The freelance miners who scavenge for bits of jade usually work and live at the base of the mounds of earth, which become particularly unstable during the rainy season.