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More than 100 killed by landslide at rainy Myanmar jade mine

Rescue workers carry a victim after a landslide Thursday at a jade mining site in Hpakant, Kachin State, Myanmar. Photo by Myanmar Fire Services Dept./EPA-EFE
Rescue workers carry a victim after a landslide Thursday at a jade mining site in Hpakant, Kachin State, Myanmar. Photo by Myanmar Fire Services Dept./EPA-EFE

July 2 (UPI) -- A large landslide at a jade mining site in northern Myanmar Thursday killed at least 113 people and left the fate of dozens more unknown, authorities said.

The landslide at the Hpakant jade mining site in Kachin State occurred after heavy rainfall. Along with the deaths, there were more than 50 injured, provincial leader Khin Maung Myint said.

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The mining location is 600 miles north of Yangon, Myanmar's largest city. Myanmar produces most of the world's high-quality jade.

Mine waste, or tailings, more than 250 feet high collapsed and poured into an open-pit mine. Many of those trapped in the mine died in muddy water produced by a wave of tailings.

U Kyaw Min, administrator for Wai Khar District, added that he expects more deaths and said additional rain has slowed the rescue work.

"At least 200 will be killed from this," Min said. "We can't go deeper to rescue, so we have to pick up the floating dead bodies. It's also difficult to send the patients to hospitals because the roads are muddy because of the rain."

Freelance miners often work mines looking for jade, but many become unstable during the rainy season. Kachin, which borders China and India, has been a site of tension between Myanmar's military and ethnic fighters.

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