POSCO looks north

Kim Dong-Jin, head of South Korean steel company POSCO‘s China branch, visited Pyongyang Tuesday for talks on purchasing more of the DPRK’s coal, iron ore, and other raw materials.

According to the AFP

POSCO, the world’s fourth largest steelmaker, has imported 200,000 tons of coal from North Korea every year.

South Korea’s investment in the North’s rich mineral resources has been sluggish due to the standoff over the North’s nuclear programme and mixed views on whether such investment can be profitable.

North Korea has promoted raw material exports as a means of generating much needed hard currency for some time.  Unfortunately, this development strategy will bring the fewest benefits to the North Korea people. Look at any oil-exporting country for comparison.  Raw materials exports generally enrich the politically connected—and workers, who in North Korea are unable to leave their jobs or negotiate their wages, generally (pun alert) get the shaft.

South Korean firms operating in the North, however, do tend to offer better working conditions than North Korean or Chinese firms.  If POSCO launches operations in North Korea, hopefully public pressure and the profit motive will see an increase in productivity, wages, and working conditions for the DPRK’s miners.

South Korea apparently also operates a graphite mine in North Korea.  If anyone has any information on this, please send it my way.

Read the full story here:
POSCO eyes NKorea raw materials
AFP
6/25/2008

Share
  • Werner Koidl

    You wrote on 23 Nov 2007 (here on nkeconwatch) that a South Korean government agency is a 50% joint venture partner of a graphit processing plant in Haeju.

  • http://www.nkeconwatch.com/ NKeconWatch

    Thanks, Werner. You do not have to believe me but I was hoping to receive material I have not already posted :)

    Have a good weekend!