Landmark discussions between the US and North Korea have led to speculation that the latter’s mineral riches, estimated to be worth around $6tn, could soon be within reach. But what do we know about mining in the secretive, dictatorial nation, and how accurate are the resource estimations?
The world watched in awe in June as US President Donald Trump shook hands and co-signed a ‘de-nuclearisation’ agreement in Singapore with Kim Jong Un, the infamous supreme leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).
The historic meeting of the formerly hostile nations immediately raised hopes that Jong Un will, finally, end North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme, paving the way for an end to international sanctions against the country. As peace glimmered delicately on the horizon, attention turned to the economic opportunities a denuclearised North Korea could offer, particularly for the mining sector.
Investment mogul and founder of Mobius Capital Partners, Mark Mobius, along with others, expressed excitement about the potential boon infrastructure and mining projects could represent to investors. Talking to CNBC, he noted the hermit country’s “tremendous resources” that are ripe for exploitation.
Mobius is referring to several reports when he says that North Korea holds around $6tn, or even $10tn according to some estimates, of untapped deposits in the form of around 200 different minerals, including gold, copper, zinc, coal, magnesite and molybdenite.
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