World / Asia-Pacific

At least 4 dead in Myanmar landslide

(Agencies) Updated: 2015-01-09 15:20

YANGON, Myanmar - At least four people have been killed in a landslide at a jade mine in Myanmar's north, authorities said Friday.

A rescue mission in the mining town of Phakant was called off late Thursday after a search team recovered four bodies, including those of two women, local government official Than Shwe said, adding that no other people had officially been reported missing so far.

Heavy rains caused the collapse Tuesday night, Than Shwe said by telephone from Hpakant town in Kachin state, about 600 miles (960 kilometers) from Yangon.

Myanmar is one of the world's biggest producers of jade, most found in the conflict-torn mountains of Kachin state, where ethnic rebels have been fighting the government for more than half a century. Landslides are common in the area and impoverished artisanal miners have been buried by rockslides on unstable slopes before.

The vast majority of the gemstones, considered to be of the highest quality, are smuggled over the border to China.

Hpakant, which is controlled by the government, has been closed off to large scale miners since 2011 because of the conflict.

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