Report: Joint Korean projects on mines could generate 90,000 jobs

Toksan Coal Mine under the Kangdong Area Coal Complex in North Korea is involved in coal production on February 9, 2006, to be sent to the East Pyongyang Thermal-power Plant and other industrial establishments by giving preference to prospecting and tunneling. File photo by EPA/KCNA

SEOUL, March 18 (UPI) — A joint inter-Korean development of major mines in North Korea could create more than 90,000 jobs a year, according to a Seoul-based think tank.

On Sunday, a report issued by the North Korea Resource Institute showed there’s potential to launch development projects on 74 mines located in the North, creating 91,310 new jobs including 18,500 for South Koreans.

Such commercial projects could significantly boost supply for coal, ore and other mineral resources, especially for South Korea which currently produces only 2.8 percent of the minerals it needs, KBS reported.

The joint development would require some $11.5 billion in investment, with yearly sales and operating profit projected at $10.6 billion and $3.2 billion respectively.

However, the estimated figures are based on the premise that international sanctions on the North are mitigated.

While the South and North Korean leaders are expected to focus on denuclearization and establishing peace on the Korean Peninsula in their summit talks next month, there is anticipation that the two sides will discuss economic cooperation in subsequent discussions.

Observers say the likely topics include re-opening the inter-Korean industrial complex in North Korea’s city of Kaesong and resuming tourism programs on the North’s Mount Kumkang.


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