30 December 2016

Jharkhand and Hpakant: two deadly mine waste landslides in the last two days

Posted by dr-dave

Jharkhand and Hpakant: two deadly mine waste landslides in the last two days

In the last two days there have been two deadly mine waste landslides, in Jharkhand in India and Hpakant in Burma (Myanmar), killing substantial numbers of people:-

A mine waste landslide at Jharkhand, India

News reports indicate that a substantial landslide occurred at the Rajmahal coal mine in Godda district, Jharkhand at 7:30 pm local time on 29th December.  The reports and image indicate that this was a large landslide in a waste pile that covered a number of excavators and other machines working at the pit bottom.  The number of people buried is slightly unclear, but the best estimate appears to be about 22.  At the time of writing nine bodies have been recovered.  The likelihood of survivors appears to be remote.

There are several images of the landslide on various news reports, although none provides a decent perspective as yet.  The best image I have found is this one:-

Jharkhand landslide

The coal mine landslide at Jharkhand, India on 29th December. Image from Manob Chowdhury via scroll.in

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Yet another deadly Jade mine landslide in Hpakant, Burma

Meanwhile, the deadly toll of mine waste landslides in Burma continues, an issue that I have described with depressing regularity over the last two years.  Yet again a large dump collapsed, burying at least 20 people, on 28th December.  Vietnam Plus has a brief report with a photograph of the site:

Jharkhand landslide

The site of a landslide at a jade mine in Kachin State, Myanmar (Photo via Vietnam Plus and the New York Times)

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As I have noted in my recent article in New Civil Engineer, we have both the knowledge and the skills to avoid these types of landslides from causing loss of life.  In developed countries mine waste landslides do occur occasionally, but rarely cause deaths (although an exception might be tailings dam failures).  That these landslides wreak such havoc in poor countries remains a scandal.

Previous post about the depressing toll of mine waste landslides in Burma: