Rockslide kills two at Myanmar jade mine

7 January 2015 (Last Updated January 7th, 2015 18:30)

A mountain of rubble collapsed at a jade mine in war-torn northern Myanmar killing two people and around 30 were missing.

Two people have died and around 30 are missing after a mountain of rubble collapsed at a jade mine in war-torn northern Myanmar.

According to a mine worker, the death toll could rise to 50 once all of the bodies have been retrieved from the massive rock pile, Reuters reported.

The landslide is said to have been caused by debris heaped beside the mine, which collapsed when heavy rains loosened the material.

"The death toll could rise to 50 once all of the bodies have been retrieved from the massive rock pile."

Local lawmaker Kyaw Soe Lay said rescue workers are clearing piles of rubble in the open pit mine in Hpakant, a town located in Kachin state.

The mine worker told the news agency that: "The mine dump measuring about 700ft (213m) in height and about 1,500ft in length collapsed today burying eleven shops."

According to a Myanmar-focused website and magazine, The Irrawaddy, Hpakant is the largest source of Myanmar jade, which recorded $3.4bn of sales at the annual gems emporium.

Owing to a rise in conflict in Kachin, sales of jade in resource-rich Myanmar has dropped off in recent years.