North Korea Rising: Rare Earth Mineral Reserves Rival China

Picture: Democratic People's Republic of Korea

Via Russia Times:

The impoverished, isolationist nation of North Korea may be on the way to becoming even more of a geo-political hotspot than it already is with the discovery of enormous deposits of rare earth minerals. As demands rise and nations scramble to take their piece of the rare earth pie, Pyongyang might find itself in a position of unheralded economic strength. Or the next war-torn battlefield…

North Korea’s is set to have the world’s second-largest magnesite reserves, and its tungsten deposits are almost the world’s sixth-largest. The country also holds sizeable deposits of coal, iron ore, gold, zinc, copper, limestone, molybdenum, and graphite.

About 40% of the 138 Chinese companies registered as doing business in North Korea in 2010, are engaged in extracting minerals, according to the U.S. Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University.

Rich rare earths deposits are considered the most lucrative piece of the North Korean resource pie. Rare earths include 17 minerals used for many modern technologies like hybrid cars, weapons, flat-screen TVs, mobile phones, and mercury lights.

China has about 30% of the rare earths deposits and currently accounts for more than 90% of global supply. REM prices have become more costly after Beijing imposed export quotas and limited the number of companies licensed to sell them abroad.

Read more at Russia Times.



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  • The Baffler

    Free Market solutions.

    If you don’t like it, you hate Capitalism.

    • Anarchy Pony

      Thoughtcrime which will one day carry the death sentence. Or at least a ticket to a “re-education” center.

      • The Baffler

        What a shame I won’t be wearing the boot that will be stomping my face. Oh well, it will be glorious anyway.

  • TapMeYouFascists

    What is it about the world’s shitty-ist places that draws rare earth elements? Some form of shit magnetism? I hear Af-Pak has got a good measure of them too.   

    • Anarchy Pony

      Trillions of dollars worth, the last I heard.

  • I_abide

    So.. any bets on the angle we’ll take this time???   The WMD or other scare angle probably won’t fly.  My money’s on genetically targeted biologic.