By Paul Vrieze
Hpakant, Kachin, Myanmar, May 27, 2016
YANGON—Within days of the start of the monsoon rains, the dangerous conditions and lack of safety measures at Myanmar’s jade mines were highlighted when a dozen miners were killed while scavenging in a mining pit.
The area in Hpakant Township, in northern Myanmar’s Kachin State, is a vast wasteland of deep pits and huge rubble heaps produced by mining companies using heavy machinery and dynamite.
Heavy rains often increase instability in the area, and on Monday a pit wall collapsed on scores of workers, said Khin Maung Myint, a National League for Democracy (NLD) Upper House parliamentarian from Hpakant.
“They found 12 bodies so far and sent 50 to the hospital,” he said, adding he believed up to 100 men could still be under the rubble. “There is heavy raining so they had to stop searching,”
He added that the men had illegally entered a company pit where work was suspended.
Deadly accidents are common in the Hpakant mines, where poor migrants from across Myanmar scavenge mining waste and pits for jade stones.
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