N. Korean graphite material to arrive in S. Korea on Saturday

Lee Joon-seung

North Korean graphite material made at an inter-Korean joint venture factory is being shipped to South Korea, the Commerce Ministry said Friday.

The 200-ton shipment from the factory near the city of Haeju left the North Korean port of Nampo earlier in the day and is expected to reach Incheon on Saturday, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy said.

“The shipment is significant because it is the first time that products made from minerals in the North have been shipped to the South after being manufactured at an inter-Korean joint venture company,” a ministry official said. The graphite can be made into heat-resistant bricks, pencils, ceramic melting pots and car brake linings.

South Korea’s state-run Korea Resources Corp. (KORES) holds a 50 percent stake in the US$10.2 million graphite processing plant along with the North’s Kwangmyung Trading Co.

The factory can produce 3,000 tons of processed graphite every year, with KORES entitled to 1,830 tons for 15 years as payment for its initial investment. The amount is equivalent to 15 percent of the graphite products the country imports every year. China, Japan and Germany are currently South Korea’s main suppliers of the material.

The state-run company signed the contract for the joint venture in July 2003, and commercial production began in April of this year. Initial test production began in April 2006.

The ministry also said the Jeonchon mine near the factory is estimated to hold 6.25 million tons of crystalline graphite ore.

Wonjin Co., a local carbon refractory brick manufacturer, signed a contract in September with the KORES to buy all the graphite from North Korea and market it in South Korea.


One Response to “N. Korean graphite material to arrive in S. Korea on Saturday”

  1. Left Flank says:

    Seoul’s "Sunshine" Props Up Pyongyang Again…

    Pyongyang refuses to allow a joint fishing zone that Seoul wants to create along the NLL as a high-profile inter-Korean symbol, but will still take as much trade and opportunity to criticize the US as it can.