myanmar’s jade mines may yield great wealth—but they leave a long trail of death. an exclusive report. by hannah beech/hpakant photographs by adam dean. when the earth collapsed as it does
the area is the main hub for jade mining in the region if not the world. it is estimated that myanmar is the source of more than 70 percent of the world’s supply of high-quality jadeite. for myanmar jade trading is essential to its economy contributing to almost half of its gross domestic product (gdp).
myanmar’s jade mining industry was dealt another blow last month when a landslide left more than 50 people feared dead. in a poorly regulated industry plagued by corruption dozens die each year in myanmar’s jade mining landslides – with last month’s deaths the latest in a long string of accidents to befall the hpakant area of kachin state. 54 people were trapped under mud which flowed
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zaw moe htet manages the hpa kant news facebook page. he contributes to the thin stream of public information about the jade mining region that reaches the outside world. surveillance by security services and restrictions on civil society and media access to jade mining areas means that most of what happens in hpakant is never reported.
rescue volunteers search for survivors after a landslide in a jade mining area in myanmar’s kachin state. photograph: zau ring hpra/afp/getty images at least 54 jade miners in myanmar are feared
the rolling hills of kachin state in northern myanmar hold the finest jade in all the world. the best stones command hundreds of thousands of dollars per ounce and mining companies scour the