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July 29, 2019

Myanmar jade mine landslide kills at least 19

At least 19 people have died following a landslide in the Hpakant region of Myanmar’s Kachin state.

By Umar Ali

At least 19 people have died following a landslide in the Hpakant region of Myanmar’s Kachin state.

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According to the Myanmar Ministry of Information, a cliff along the mine collapsed and fell 5,000ft into a nearby lake, killing 16 security guards and three police officers.

Two officers were also injured but were rescued and sent to hospital. Authorities also reported that one four-wheel drive car and three security guard posts were buried in the landslide.

In a Facebook update, the Hpakant Township Information and Public Relations Department said: “So far, the bodies of 13 security guards have been retrieved from the mud lake, and the rescue operation is on to find the remaining three security guards and the three policemen.”

This incident follows another landslide at a jade mine in the Hpakant region in April 2019, which killed at least 54 miners. Another landslide occurred in a Hpakant jade mine in July 2018, killing 15 people and injuring a further 45.

The Myanmar Government has ordered all mining activity in Hpakant to cease from May to October 2019 during the country’s monsoon season. Despite this, people in the area have reported a number of “scavengers” operating in Hpakant jade mines.

Police chief Than Win Aung told Reuters: “The companies aren’t operating because of the water. Security people are on duty in order to prevent landslides due to illegal mining.”

Jade mining is a highly lucrative but unregulated practice in Myanmar. According to the most recent data published by the Myanmar Government official sales of jade were worth around $704m in 2016-2017, but analysts argue the value of the industry is much larger.

Global Witness Myanmar Extractives team leader Paul Donowitz told Mining Technology: “We’re not surprised to hear about this terrible incident. It’s very common that large-scale mine operations move huge amount of soil, creating massive pits that fill with water which they abandon when their permit expires.

“These often break, killing whomever is below in a torrent of mud and waste and water and rock. The conditions in Hpakant, even with the current pause for the rainy season, are extremely hazardous as miners have continued to mine ever more intensely.

“The government, especially the regulator, the Myanmar Gems Enterprise has no effective ability to enforce and monitor compliance with laws and permit requirements. The mining areas are controlled by powerful people and armed groups who control the trade and smuggling to China continues, depriving the Myanmar government and people of billions in badly needed revenue.”

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Dig deeper with our mining equipment forecasts

As ore mines ramp up and come on stream, the total number of active surface machines (including trucks, excavators, shovels, loaders, graders and dozers) is forecast to rise from 141,470 in 2020 to 167,367 by 2025. This will be a CAGR of 3.4% from 2020 to 2025. The largest contributor to this growth is expected to be trucks, particularly smaller-sized trucks with shorter lifespans, used extensively in parts of Asia Pacific. Underground mining equipment is similarly expected to see a CAGR of 2.3% in this same time frame, with the number of mining trucks and loaders/LHDs in active underground mines expected to rise to 19,853 by 2025. GlobalData’s extensive mine-site research and equipment models have been used to build a complete view of mobile mining equipment populations globally for trucks, loaders, graders, dozers, excavators and shovels. This report includes informative breakdowns by each major region and key mining country, and also by major commodity. Read GlobalData’s Global Surface and Underground Mining Equipment: Populations & Forecast to 2025 for a complete view of the market, allowing you to best position yourself for the future.
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Enter your details here to receive your free Report.

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