Archive for the ‘Sand’ Category

N.K. metals, minerals to be sold directly to South

Thursday, September 13th, 2007

Hankyoreh (h/t Tim Beal)

Deal would see such shipments cross the DMZ for the first time

For the first time in the more than 50 years since the Korean War, minerals produced jointly by the two Koreas will be sold in South Korea. The two countries will also start to work on developing new mine projects and will launch drilling as early as next month, Lee Han-ho, head of the Korea Resources Corp. (KORES) told the Hankyoreh in a recent exclusive interview.

Lee is one of the group of business leaders and government officials that will accompany President Roh Moo-hyun during the second-ever inter-Korean summit slated for Oct. 2-4.

“On September 5, I met with Chung Un-up, North Korean head of the Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation Association in Pyongyang, and signed a deal to sell black lead products that two Koreas jointly produced at a mine in Hwanghae Province,” Lee said. “We also agreed to work together in developing a limestone mine in Shinwon of the same province and start drilling for black lead in the Pungcheon region.”

So far, minerals produced in the North have been sold in South Korea through a third country, such as China. Every year, US$10 million to $100 million worth of originally North Korean-produced non-metals were shipped to the South. This new project will be the first time such materials produced by the two Koreas will directly cross the line that has divided the peninsula since the 1950-53 Korean War.

The cross-border shipments would also come at a time when China is working on joint ventures with the North to develop resources in the communist country. Experts see the first-ever joint production and shipment of minerals as providing a boost for inter-Korean cooperation in the resources field.

Lee was invited to the North by the Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation Association. The first shipment, amounting to 200 tons will be on the South Korean market earlier next month, with 800-1,000 tons of black lead to follow. Wonjin Co. will be responsible for the sale of the black lead, which will be used in making fire-resistant materials and carbonized steel. Eight hundred tons of black lead would be priced at around $150,000.

KORES opened a 50-50 joint venture with a North Korean firm in April last year, but its full-blown operation has been delayed until recently due to electricity shortages in the North.


Kim Yun-kyu Resumes N. Korean Business

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2007

Korea Times
Yoon Won-sup

Kim Yun-kyu, who stepped down as vice president of Hyundai Asan, South Korea’s operator of inter-Korean business and tourism, due to illegal use of corporate funds in October 2005, is resuming work with North Korea.

Kim set up his own company for North Korean business last year, dubbed Acheon Global Corp., which imported 531 kilograms of caviar from North Korea via the East Coast train on June 21, and entered the Gaeseong Industrial Complex, according to the Unification Ministry.

The importing of the caviar is Acheon’s first business transaction with North Korea, which was finalized by Kim’s aide Yuk Jae-hee, vice president of Acheon and former executive of Hyundai, during Yuk’s visit to Mt. Geumgang in North Korea June 18 to 20.

Kim will visit Mt. Geumgang Thursday, the first time since his resignation, to discuss additional imports with North Korean government officials. His North Korean counterpart is a business association in charge of fisheries.

Kim is reportedly seeking to bring North Korean sand to the South. Accordingly, he visited Gaeseong June 19, and Yuk plans to visit Gaeseong soon for further discussion on sand importing.

However, the two CEOs of Acheon are not likely to meet senior North Korean government officials, though they previously have met with and will, again, meet with working-level officials on inter-Korean affairs, in Gaeseong and Mt. Geumgang.

“Kim got approval from North Korea to visit the country for trade of agricultural and fishery projects, and the discussion has been conducted according to the purpose of his visit to North Korea,” a South Korean government official said on condition of anonymity.

Kim already discussed imports of North Korean fisheries and sand to the South and the establishment of an office in Gaeseong, with Choi Seung-chul, vice chairman of Asia Pacific Peace Committee of North Korea.

In line with Kim’s plan, Acheon signed a contract with the Korea Land Corp. to rent 1,400 square meters of land in the Gaeseong complex.

A building is to be set up there to accommodate restaurants, coffeehouses and other facilities for workers in Gaeseong, but it is not yet decided what kind of facilities will be built by Acheon. A permanent office of Acheon also is likely to be set up in Gaeseong.

Some observers say Kim’s resumed activity may lead to competition with Hyundai Asan regarding inter-Korean business, but the dominant opinion is that the chance is slim for the time being.

Kim led the inter-Korean business with Mt. Geumgang tourism and Gaeseong complex under the confidence of late Hyundai Group founder Chung Ju-yung and his late son Mong-hun, former president of Hyundai Asan. Now Hyun Jung-eun, widow of Chung Mong-hun, leads Hyundai Asan.


Inter-Korean trade jumps 43 percent in Q1

Wednesday, May 9th, 2007


Despite lingering tension over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, inter-Korean commercial trade surged 43 percent in the first quarter of this year, compared with the same period a year earlier, the Unification Ministry said Wednesday.

Commercial trade between the two Koreas increased to US$346.99 million in the January-April period, up from $243.36 a year ago, thanks to an influx of zinc bullion, sand, fishery items, shoes and clothing into a joint industrial complex in the North Korean border city of Kaesong.

The industrial complex is the crowning achievement of a landmark summit between the leaders of the two Koreas in 2000. South Korean businesses use cheap North Korean labor to produce goods in Kaesong where 21 South Korean factories employ about 11,160 North Korean workers.

“Non-commercial trade between the two sides dropped 24 percent during the same time span, so the total inter-Korean trade rose 25.5 percent to $411 million,” the ministry said in a statement.

In late March, South Korea started to send fertilizer aid and flood relief supplies to the North.

The shipment came weeks after the two sides agreed to resume humanitarian aid and family reunion events, just days after North Korea promised to take steps to shut down its main nuclear reactor and eventually disable it in return for energy aid from South Korea, the United States, China, Russia and Japan.

Shortly after the North conducted missile tests in July, the South suspended food and fertilizer aid along with its emergency aid to the impoverished North. In retaliation, the communist nation suspended inter-Korean talks, family reunions and the construction of a family reunion center.


North Korea Jacks Up Sand Prices, Switches Currency

Friday, February 2nd, 2007

Choson Ilbo (hat tip One Free Korea)
A sand supplier under virtual control of the North Korean army has notified its South Korean customers that the price of sand exported to South Korea would be going up by 60 percent.

On Thursday, the Korea International Trade Association, the Korean Aggregates Association and importers of North Korean sand said that the North recently sent an unexpected notice that it would raise the price of sand next month by W900 (US$1=W937) from US$1.6 (W1,500) to 2 euros (W2,400) per cubic meter.

Exports of North Korea’s sand, which is extracted mainly from seaside areas around Haeju, Hwanghae Province, are virtually controlled by the Ministry of People’s Armed Forces, the command authority of the North Korean People’s Army.

Chun Seong-whun, a senior research fellow with the Korean Institute for National Unification, said, “It would seem cash-strapped North Korea is trying to obtain foreign currency by raising the price of sand, which is quite flexible.”

Last year around 9.09 million cubic meters of sand were imported from the North. If the same amount of sand is imported this year, the North will see an additional W8.2 billion. In addition, experts believe that the North wants to change to euros because it is under suspicion of counterfeiting dollars. An increase in sand prices could seriously undermine profits for around 20 aggregates firms in South Korea.