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Twenty-five people died in a landslide caused by a jade mine in Myanmar

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After a landslide at an unlicensed jade mine in a rural area of Myanmar, rescuers have found 25 bodies, but 14 people are still missing, according to emergency personnel on Tuesday.

The landslide happened on Sunday outside the northern Kachin township of Hpakant. Myanmar has recently been battered by severe rain and flooding.

Although jade mining is a lucrative industry in Myanmar, it is unregulated and frequently results in worker casualties, including more than 170 fatalities in the same location after a 2020 landslide.

A rescuer told AFP on Tuesday, “We found 25 dead bodies in total today,” adding that 14 people were still missing and the search effort will continue on Wednesday.

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While some victims were floating, rescuers had to dig through muck to find the bodies.

Rescuers claim that a huge mound of earth that was left behind by mining excavations and stood 150–180 meters (500–600 feet) high collapsed after being loosened by heavy rain.

The mine’s operations had been put on hold during the rainy season, but it was thought that the people trapped in the landslide were locals looking for treasure in the mud.

To extract a diamond that is highly prized in neighboring China, the jade business depends on low-paid migrant workers.

Jade and other abundant natural resources in northern Myanmar, such as timber, gold, and amber, have contributed to the financing of both sides in the long-running civil war between the military and ethnic Kachin rebels.

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Although rights and environmental organizations have long lobbied for changes, a military coup in 2021 largely put an end to expectations for higher standards.

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