China expanding mining rights in N. Korea

According to Yonhap:

China has expanded its mining rights in North Korea to cover as many as 20 sites, a South Korean report said Thursday.

China is a leading investor in North Korea, which, according to a South Korean study, is believed to have enormous deposits of natural resources, including coal, nickel, molybdenum and bronze.

Further efforts to isolate the DPRK economically allow China to capture even more of these resources at bargain prices.  The North Koreans, for their part, are not happy about this.  According to the Steel Guru:

At an international conference held in Yanjiin in October, Director of the Economy Institute at the North Korean Academy of Social Sciences Mr Kim Chol Jun had revealed that his country is restricting exports of unprocessed resources. He added that “Mineral resources are exported at high prices by processing them. Exports of cheap unprocessed goods are a loss to the state.”

South Korea’s Unification Ministry estimates that underground mineral resources in North Korea are valued at about JPY 540 and the amount of deposits of magnetite used to trim the weight of automobile parts is the world’s largest at 3 billion tonnes to 4 billion tonnes. In addition to iron ore, North Korea is said to be rich in such rare metals as molybdenum and rare earth.

On a positive note, Chinese takeover of the mines could possibly lead to greater investment in mine working conditions if only to increase output—-although no data is really available to determine if this is the case.

I have been unable to locate the report mentioned in Yonhap because the story did not give any information about the title, author, publisher, or even the date or place it was released.


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