Myanmar’s Jade Center Suspends Most Mining Amid Coronavirus Spike

The Myanmar government has suspended large-scale jade-mining activities in Kachin state, home to the world’s largest jade mine and a magnet for poor scavengers, until early next year in the face of surging coronavirus infections, the state’s natural resources minister said.

Large-scale mining in Hpakant township, notorious for deadly landslides that take scores of illegal miners’ lives each year, had been suspended since July for the rainy season. The mine closures have been extended until the end of January due to the high number of COVID-19 cases, said Dashi La Seng, Kachin state’s minister of natural resources and environmental conservation.

Small-scale mines, however, can remain in operation if they follow coronavirus prevention guidelines, he said.

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Elizabeth Jangma for RFA’s Myanmar Service. Translated by Ye Kaung Myint Maung. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.