North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

PRC-DPRK Open Hyesan Mine

PRC Ambassador to the DPRK Liu Hongcai (2nd R) attends a ribbon cutting at the Hyesan-China Joint Venture Mineral Company in Yanggang Province on 19 September 2011. Also in attendance are Minister of Extractive Industries Kang Min Chol (2nd L) and Ryanggang Chief KWP Secretary Kim Hui Taek (4th L) (Photo: PRC Embassy in the DPRK)

The DPRK and China formally began operations of a copper mine in Hyesan, Ryannggang Province, on Monday (19 September).  The opening ceremony at the mine occurred nearly four (4) years after the two countries agreed to jointly develop the project in November 2007.  Opening the Hyesan mine was delayed at several points, with one report claiming that dozens of Chinese workers were camped out near the mine, but local DPRK officials prevented them from performing any work and harassment from local police.  Xinhua reports:

Hyesan-China Joint Venture Mineral Company, a large joint project between China and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), started operation at Hyesan of Ryanggang province on Monday.

The mineral company was jointly set up by Wanxiang Resources Limited Company of China and the Ministry of Mining Industries of the DPRK on Nov. 1, 2007. Its main business was to produce and sell copper.

DPRK Mining Industries Minister Kang Min Chol and Chinese ambassador Liu Hongcai attended the opening ceremony.

Kim Chol, chairman of the people’s committee of the Ryanggang province, said at the ceremony that the joint venture was one of the symbols of the development of the DPRK-China friendship and would be a model of modernization, science and economic benefits.

Liu believed the company would make profits for both sides, benefit the two peoples and promote traditional China-DPRK friendship.

Speaking program at Hyesan Copper Mine prior to the opening of the Hyesan-China Joint Venture Mineral Company on 21 September 2011. Seen attendance are PRC Ambassador to the DPRK Liu Hongcai (4th L), Ryanggang Chief KWP Secretary Kim Hui Taek (3rd R) and Minister of Extractive Industries Kang Min Chol (2nd R) (Photo: PRC Embassy in the DPRK)

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