Myanmar suspends jade mining operations until end November

In this file photo taken on July 4, 2020, damaged houses are seen next to the site of a deadly landslide in an area where miners work in open-cast jade mines near Hpakant in Kachin state. - AFP

YANGON (Xinhua): Myanmar extended the suspension period of operations at jade mining sites to contain the spread of Covid-19 pandemic until the end of November, an official from the Myanma Gems Enterprise told Xinhua on Tuesday (Oct 6).

The Myanma Gems Enterprises previously issued a directive to jade mining companies to suspend operations at the mining sites for three months starting from July during monsoon season.

"The suspension was firstly set for three monsoon months, but it was extended to Nov 30 as a part of preventive measures for Covid-19," said Thet Khaing, general manager of the enterprise.

The suspension is being practised in Lone Khin-Hpakant mining area in Kachin state, and Kanin mining area and Maw Luu-Maw Han mining area in Sagaing region.

Jade mining operations are normally suspended in monsoon season in the country as heavy rainfalls frequently caused landslides, leaving casualties.

Deadly landslides are frequent in Kachin state especially in Hpakant mining region.

Many locals make their living by jade scavenging in the region and most of the landslides are caused by the partial collapse of tailings heaps and dams.

A major fatal landslide occurred at a jade mining site in Hpakant township on July 2 this year, killing at least 174 jade scavengers and injuring 54 others.

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