Korea Resources Corporation (KORES), a state-run energy and natural resources company, disclosed on Monday that it has discovered 370 million tons of mineral resources with marketable value of 1.9 trillion won ($1.6 billion) such as bentonite, limestone, and gold and silver, in Korea. According to KORES, it carried out a project last year that closely examines the amount of six types of mineral resources reserves – gold and silver, limestone, bentonite, iron, molybdenum, and silica and agalmatolite. The reserve amount is mineral resources that could be developed in the future.
By mineral, the study showed that Korea has 360 million tons of limestone reserves, 7.69 million tons of silica and agalmatolite, 270,000 tons of iron, 130,000 tons of gold and silver, 24,000 tons of bentonite, and 70 tons of molybdenum.
The total amount of reserves is 3.3 times more than the amount of Korea’s annual demand and is worth 1.9 trillion won based on current market value.
Operators are engaged in explosion work to expand mine at a limestone mine in South Korea.
KORES said that value could be higher as it set the value of the reserves lower than the actual market price given that the amount of mineral resources that can actually be exploited from the reserves is considerably less and differences in overall volume.
KORES, meanwhile, plans to spend 8.5 billion won this year in related projects, such as inviting private enterprises to government-led projects to secure reserves and providing loans for facility funds.
An unnamed KORES official said that resources industry is becoming even more important when it comes to national industry security, particularly amid intensifying trade conflict between the United States and China and Korea and Japan. The government should invest more to explore natural resource reserve, the official said.
By Lim Sung-hyun and Lee Eun-joo
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