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‘Myanmar Government’s Big State Secret’ Leaves Hundreds Dead or Missing

Posted by feww on November 22, 2015

Up to 200 dead or missing in massive landslide near jade mine in N. Myanmar

A landslide near a jade mine in northern Myanmar has killed about 100 people and left more than 100 others missing, according to reports.

The incident occurred in Kachin state, home to the most valuable jade mines in the world.

Most of the victims were poor villagers sifting through mountains of waste rubble, “dumped by mechanical diggers used by the mining firms in the area to extract Myanmar’s most valuable precious stone,” according to AFP.

“The area has been turned into a moonscape of environmental destruction as huge diggers gouge the earth looking for jade.”

Landslides occur regularly in the area and many have been killed so far this year as people living off the industry’s waste, in the hope of finding a piece of jade worth thousands of dollars, search through mountains of rubble at night, said the report.

Additionally, itinerant miners are attracted from all parts of the country “by the promise of riches and become easy prey for drug addiction in Hpakant, where heroin and methamphetamine are cheaply available on the streets,” reported AFP.

“Jade is Myanmar government’s big state secret”

The jade trade, “controlled by the military elites,” raked in about “US$31 billion in 2014 alone,” more than 10 times the official declaration. “That is equivalent to nearly half the GDP of the whole country, which badly needs it. But hardly any of the money is reaching ordinary people or state coffers, said a report.

 

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