by WorldTribune Staff, October 11, 2018
North Korea is sitting on mineral resources that are worth 15 times more than the value of South Korea’s, the South’s state-run Korea Resources Corporation (KRC) reported on Oct. 11.
Pyongyang has signed 40 investment agreements with foreign companies in regard to its minerals – 90 percent of them being with China, the KRC said.
The North has vast amount of magnesite (6 billion tons), graphite (2 million tons), iron ore (5 billion tons) and tungsten (250,000 tons) which in total are worth an estimated $3.3 trillion at current market value, KRC said in its report to South Korean parliament.
Rep. Park Jung of the South’s ruling Democratic Party expressed concerns over China’s dominance in North Korea’s mineral trade, calling for the Seoul government to carry out reviews of North Korean mines as soon as possible.
“If South Korea can bring in North Korea’s mineral resources, it would be able to stably use them for several centuries,” Park said. “The government needs to promptly take actions because China has already secured many of North Korea’s mineral resources.”
South Korea had carried out inspections of North Korean mineral resources following the inter-Korean summit in 2000, but all ties have been suspended since 2010.
Many of the minerals North Korea has are needed to make smartphones and other high-tech products, but the North lacks suitable mining equipment and potential buyers are wary due to tough international sanctions on the Kim Jong-Un regime.
South Korea has considerable know-how in making memory chips, displays and rechargeable batteries but imports most of its raw materials from abroad.