August 19, 2016

One confirmed dead, another missing in latest Hpakant landslide

Migrant workers are scavenging for leftover Jade. Photo: Thaung Nyunt
Migrant workers are scavenging for leftover Jade. Photo: Thaung Nyunt

LOCAL authorities confirmed yesterday that one miner died in a landslide in Hpakant that occurred on Monday evening.
“A man injured in the landslide died upon arrival at the hospital. We were also informed that two were missing following the accident,” said U Tin Swe Myint, the head of the Hpakant Township Administration Office, to The Global New Light of Myanmar over the phone.
“One of the two who were reportedly missing arrived back home on Tuesday,” he added.
The accident happened around 4 pm on Monday as migrant workers returned home.
In late November last year, a deadly landslide occurred at the site, leaving 115 migrant workers dead.
Shortcomings in following safety regulations by both mining companies and migrant squatters pose challenges for local authorities in preventing future landslides around jade mines in Kachin State.
To prevent landslides, local authorities have suggested that migrant miners squatting around at-risk areas be relocated to safer areas and that mining companies dump their waste soil in accordance with technical safety rules.
When miners began using heavy machinery to extract jade from mines in Myanmar in 2005, migrant workers across the country flowed into the area to scavenge small jade stones from the discarded mine soil.
There are currently around 200,000 squatters in Hpakant Township.
According to data collected up to 30 November 2015, 627 mining companies have been allowed to mine on 7,714 plots, while other 231 companies are mining through a win-win business system on 311 plots. Mining areas constitute a total area of more than 22,558 acres in the township. As of 2000, the government has practiced a production-sharing system with mining companies, collecting 25 per cent of the incomes from the sales, apart from tax.


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