One Dead, 10 Missing after Fresh Hpakant Landslide

By Zarni Mann 15 December 2015

MANDALAY — At least one jade miner has been killed and locals believe that 10 prospectors are still missing after a landslide in Kachin State’s Hpakant Township.

A mountain of mine waste in La Mong Kone village collapsed on Monday while prospectors were searching for jade residue. The latest incident occurred just a few kilometers away from a landslide which last month killed at least 114 prospectors.

“As far as we can confirm, only one person has died,” said a local police officer. “The landslide moved slowly, so most of the people working on the waste pile had time to run for their lives.”

The officer added that it would be difficult to retrieve to body of the miner.

“According to witnesses, he fell down from a cliff and was buried deeply,” he said. There is a danger of further landslides on the waste pile as well.”

Witnesses contend that at least as many as 10 miners are still missing.

“There were about twenty people searching for jade residues on that waste pile,” said Khin Maung, a prospector who witnessed the incident. “The waste pile slowly slid down, with people shouting and running away. Some escaped, but some did not.”

Deadly landslides are common among the jade mines in Hpakant. Following last month’s tragedy, lawmakers have called on the government to address longstanding safety concerns. No decisions on safety measures have yet been made by the Ministry of Mines.