Jangseong Mine [Photo by Yonhap]
South Korea is expected to shut down its last three mines under Korea Coal Corp. (KCC) by 2025 due to decreasing coal output.
According to sources in the government and the National Assembly on Thursday, the Trade, Industry Energy, SMEs, and Startups Committee under the National Assembly passed a bill to increase a budget to close the mines by 36.4 billion won ($27.1 million) to 158.9 billion won. Following the committee’s decision, the bill is expected to pass the budget committee and the plenary session of the National Assembly.
The total budget of 158.9 billion won includes lump-sum compensation for miners and the related local government’s purchases of closed mines from the KCC.
The central government is seeking to shut down the mines, as the country’s coal industry has been on downhill over the past 10 years with a sharp fall in productivity. One mine in Hwasun-gun, South Jeolla Province, that turned out 705,000 tons in 1989 has seen output dwindle to 20,000 tons over the latest decade.
In March this year, the government reached an agreement with a union under the KCC to shutter the three mines in Hwasun, Jangseong, and Dogye by 2025. It estimates that the closures by 2025 will save around 600 billion won to 1 trillion won in government budget.
By Park Dong-hwan and Jenny Lee
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]