Jade mining

This is a mock IELTS Reading test.

You have 25 minutes to complete the test.

There are 13 IELTS style questions,

  • Six matching headings

  • Four sentence completion

  • Three summary completion

The reading text is below.

1) You begin the test by entering your details in the answer sheet.

2) Once you do this, you will have access to the 13 questions.

3) Once you begin the test, you have 25 minutes to complete the questions and enter your answers into the answer sheet. The answer sheet will automatically close after 25 minutes.

 

1 ___________

On Thursday 2 July 2020, at a mine in Hpakant, a vast swath of mud and mining waste began to shift and plunge inexorably downwards, causing huge waves to crash into the lake below. The incident crushed at least 172 workers, the worst disaster to strike Myanmar’s jade mines in living memory. Most of the victims were freelance miners – unauthorised workers, often from minority ethnic groups, who scavenge for pieces of jade within the earth excavated by big mining companies.

2___________

The accident, while large, was not a huge surprise. Miners die every year in landslides and other accidents in Myanmar’s jade mines, with most unnoticed by the outside world. About 100 people were killed in a 2015 collapse, another 50 died in 2019. The situation has been exacerbated by companies mining ever-faster and more prolifically, while dumping waste in areas where it is fairly easily accessed. 

3___________ Jade is important to Myanmar. It is an industry worth up to US$31 billion in 2014 alone – equivalent to nearly half the GDP for the whole country. The country produces 70-90 per cent of the world’s jade, with almost all exported to China – its value derived from the stone’s key place in Chinese history and culture. Prized as a decorative status symbol, the highest quality jade can fetch $13,000 per kilogram. 

4___________

However, very little of the wealth generated by this revered stone makes its way back to ordinary people in Myanmar. The military (Tatmadaw) owns two large conglomerates – Myanmar Economic Holdings Limited and Myanmar Economic Corporation – that have extensive operations in a wide range of businesses, including jade. It also has a strong presence in Kachin State, the location of the country’s mines, where fighting with rebel groups has resulted in a protracted and bloody conflict. The industry generates funds for both sides in a war that has claimed thousands of lives and seen 100,000 people displaced since it reignited in 2011.

5___________ Companies generate enormous profits, often by underreporting and undervaluing their production. It is estimated that around 59–74 per cent of jade by volume is unregistered. This results in weak oversight of operations and, for the 300,000 unregistered miners who come from all over the country to hunt for jade, it exacerbates deadly conditions.  6___________ The government has made some overtures to addressing the problem. Following the disaster, President U Win Myint immediately formed an investigation body that visited the site of the incident in Hpakant and met with local people. The state government has received about 579,900,000 kyats (about US$423,900) in donations from the Kachin State government, the Tatmadaw, mining companies and individual donors.

7___________ However, the government has yet to implement desperately needed reforms, allowing deadly mining practices to continue. Although the government joined the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) as a candidate country in 2014, membership of which requires both companies and national governments to publicly disclose their revenues from extracted resources, disclosures have been extremely limited in scope and accuracy. Similarly, the Myanmar Gem Stones Law, amended twice in 2016 and 2019, is said to be weakly enforced.  Written by Katie Burton. Full article in Development http://geographical.co.uk/people/development/item/3813-jade-mine-collapses-in-myanmar-exposing-a-lucrative-industry-with-a-deadly-record

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