Dark side of the green stone

April 24, 2019— Few materials are as stunning as jade. Luminous and sensuous, once carved jade draws in light like a beacon. It has been prized in China for thousands of years.

But jade, like other mined materials, carries with it a dark side. A product of Myanmar, the jade industry is worth an estimated $31 billion a year, or almost half the country’s gross domestic product. Jade is mined, liked gold in Brazil and cobalt in Congo, under hazardous conditions. Landslides composed of its tailings—the mud-like effluvium left over from its extraction—have caused the deaths of hundreds of workers and nearby villagers. Just thisweek, 52 miners were left for dead when a mound of tailings collapsed into an open-pit mine in Kachin State, at the border of India and China.


Source: Richard C. Paddock and Saw Nang, “Myanmar Jade Mine Disaster Feared to Have Killed More Than 50.” The New York Times, April 24, 2019