Jade Miner Killed In Hpakant Landslide

An irregular jade miner in Hpakant Township was killed and another injured when a 300-foot mountain of debris collapsed on the two men as they scavenged for the precious metal in Mawsi Ser around 3am on 28 November.

A local source, who requested anonymity, told KNG that the landslide began after a truck dumped discarded earth on the hill above the men. Within four hours, volunteers dug the man’s lifeless body out of the landslide. The identity of the deceased is not yet known, but he is believed to be around 30 years old

In the mining blocks of Mawsi Ser, Mamong and Mat Lin Chaung, miners have resorted to working through the night following the regime’s crackdown on companies affiliated with the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), which is fighting the military in Kachin State.

“The BA wants to weaken the KIA by creating difficulties for them, so they’re banning jade mining companies suspected of having links with the KIA” to reduce the taxes the armed groups can collect from mines, a local told KNG on condition of anonymity. This also affects tax revenues from construction projects, businesses and vehicles transporting goods into the area.

According to Global Witness, Burma’s jade trade was worth $31 billion in 2014, accounting for nearly half of Burma’s annual GDP. Hpakant produces the highest quality jadeite in the world, most of which is distributed through China. However, uncontrolled mining has led to massive deforestation and erosion, which in turn has caused landslides that have killed hundreds of miners. In 2020, some 200 miners were buried alive or swept away by a massive tidal wave triggered by a mountain of mine waste that plunged into an artificial lake—the most horrific mining accident in the Southeast Asian country.

Both the junta and the KIA’s political wing, the Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO), rely on the rich deposits in Hpakant to fund their armies. And the Kachin armed group distributes some of this revenue to the PDFs, other armed ethnic groups and the exiled National Unity Government.

Last month, two jade miners were killed in a landslide in Moe Kar village in the Seik Mu village tract.

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