Three people have died and another one has been injured following a landslide on a spoil heap at a former jade mine in the town of Mohnyin in Kachin State, Myanmar, on Thursday 23 April 2020. All four are thought to have been scavenging on the 12-19 m high spoil heap for pieces of the mineral missed by the original miners, a common occupation in the area.
The approximate location of the 23 April 2020 Mohnyin mine landslide. Google Maps.
Myanmar is the world's largest producer of jade, though much of this is produced (along with other precious and semi-precious minerals such as amber) at unregulated (and often illegal) artisanal mines in the north of the country, from where it is smuggled into neighbouring China. Accidents at such mines are extremely common, due to the more-or-less total absence of any safety precautions at the site. At many sites this is made worse by the unregulated use of explosives to break up rocks, often leading to the weakening of rock faces, which can then collapse without warning. The majority of people in this industry are migrant workers from the surrounding countryside, not registered with any local authority, which can make it difficult for rescuers to identify victims following such events, or even gain accurate assessments of the number of people likely to have been involved in such accidents.
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