Jade Miners Suspected Dead in Hpakant Mudslide

Kate Maw jade mine of Lawnghkang village tract in Hpakant after mudslide on March 23, 2019

Workers are missing following the collapse of a mud-filter pond.

A mud-filter pond collapsed at a mining site in Hpakant Township on Saturday, with many people still missing following the accident.

The landslide occurred at the Kate Maw mine in Lawnghkang village tract at around 12:40 p.m.—the middle of the workday. The pond was located in the block operated by the Nay Min Gabar and Ever companies.

Those who are missing under the rubble are likely official company workers, rather than informal jade pickers, who are banned from searching for stones on the site.

“I think many people have been killed. It's because it happened during working hours. Workers and machines were still working on the block at that time,” Tu Lum, an eyewitness and member of Kachin community-based organization Amyusha Zinlum, told KNG. He added that many large machines, including bulldozers, had been buried under the mud and were still not visible.

As of late Saturday afternoon, a rescue mission had not begun, but people had gathered to see the scene.

“I haven’t seen any free funeral service cars coming in,” Tu Lum added, referring to a response that has become common and necessary following fatal mining disasters.