YANGON, Myanmar – A landslide near a jade mine in northern Myanmar killed up to 60 people and left more than 100 missing, most of them villagers sifting through a mountain of tailings and waste, a local community leader said Sunday.

The collapse occurred Saturday afternoon in Kachin state, said Lamai Gum Ja, a community leader and businessman.

He said he was told by people at the scene that 50 to 60 bodies had been pulled from the debris and that more than 100 others are missing.

The region is home to some of the world’s highest quality jade, bringing in billions of dollars a year, though researchers say most of that money goes to individuals and companies tied to Myanmar’s former military rulers.

Hpakant, the epicenter of the country’s jade boom, remains desperately poor. Informal miners risk and often lose their lives digging through scraps of the giant mines.

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