Korea, Democratic People's Republic of (DPRK) - Mining

Minerals and metallurgical products were North Korea's top two export commodities in 2002, and chemicals manufacturing, mining, and metallurgy ranked fourth, fifth, and sixth, respectively, among the country's top industries. The leading minerals were coal, iron ore, magnesite, graphite, copper, zinc, lead, and precious metals. The mining and construction sectors grew by 5.8% and 13.6%, respectively, and GDP grew by 1.3% in 2000 and 6.2% in 1999. Gross weight of marketable iron ore and concentrate produced in 2000 was 700,000 tons, down from 1 million tons in 1997. High-grade iron ore deposits lay off the coast of Unryl county, South Hwanghae Province. Outputs of other minerals included crude magnesite, 1.0 million tons, down from 1.5 million tons in 1998; graphite, 30,000 tons, down from 40,000 in 1997; mine copper (metal content), 14,000 tons; zinc, 190,000 tons; lead, 70,000 tons; gold (metal content), 5,000 kg; silver, 40 tons, down from 50 in 1997; sulfur, 240,000 tons; phosphate rock, 350,000 tons, down from 520,000 in 1997; and tungsten, 700 tons, down from 900 in 1997. North Korea also produced barite, hydraulic cement, fluorspar, nitrogen, salt, and pyrophyllite soapstone, and presumably produced varieties of stone, and sand and gravel. As North Korea began emerging from its isolation, mineral trade with the Republic of Korea increased, with the DPRK exporting coal, gold, steel, and zinc to the south. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, North Korea has faced shortages of raw materials, in addition to shortages of fuel, food, and electricity. Molopo Australia NL had four gold projects in North Korea—Big Boy, Changjin, Danchon, and Hambung—and successfully processed 625 g of gold from a gravity separation plant in Changjin.

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