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At least two people are dead and many more are still missing after a giant mound of soil collapsed in the Hpakant jade mines in Kachin State on Tuesday evening.
“The mound of earth in the west side of Hmaw Mong Gon mining plot collapsed around 7pm,” said Dashi La Hseng, local chairman of the National League for Democracy party in Hpakant. “There were around 200 people at the site including vendors and small-time miners.”
He said that the mound of soil was “as big as a hill”, and that as of Wednesday afternoon around 40 people remained buried. Only two bodies have been found so far – those of two men from Arakan State identified as 32-year-old Myo Naing from Ponnakyun and 20-year-old Nay Lin from Sittwe.
Dashi La Hseng said that local authorities have joined forces with the company that operates the Hmaw Mong Gon mining plot in an urgent attempt to rescue those still trapped.
Some locals speculate that the incident was caused by recent rain, which led to erosion of the mound of soil that had been dug-up and dumped by the company.