YANGON, Myanmar â?? A landslide near a jade mine in northern Myanmar killed up to 70 folks and left far more than 100 missing, most of them villagers sifting by way of a enormous mountain of tailings and waste, a neighborhood leader and businessman said Sunday.

The collapse occurred Saturday afternoon in Kachin state, mentioned Brang Seng, a jade businessman, describing rows of bodies pulled from the debris.

“There were more than 70,” he stated. “This is awfully bad.”

Much more than one hundred other individuals have been missing, mentioned Lamai Gum Ja, a community leader who also has interests in the mining business.

Myanmar only not too long ago started moving from a half-century of dictatorship to democracy. Hpakant, the epicenter of the country’s jade boom, remains desperately poor, with bumpy dirt roads and continual electrical energy blackouts.

The area bordering China is residence to some of the world’s highest high quality jade, bringing in billions of dollars a year, though researchers say most of that cash goes to individuals and businesses tied to Myanmar’s former military rulers.

Informal miners danger and often lose their lives digging by way of scraps of the giant mines.

“Massive businesses, a lot of of them owned by households of former generals, army organizations, cronies and drug lords are creating tens or hundreds of millions of dollars a year through their plunder of Hpakant,” mentioned Mike Davis of Global Witness, a group that investigates the misuse of revenue from all-natural resources.

He said that “scores of men and women at a time are buried alive in landslides.”