When “North Korea” is uttered during conversation, most people’s minds drift toward thoughts of nuclear wear, totalitarian regimes and incidences of human rights violations. What few know, however, is that the Asian country is actually located on a stockpile of minerals, including zinc, iron, gold, copper, magnesite, limestone, tungsten and graphite, which are estimated to be worth between $6 trillion and $10 trillion. The issue is, the country is too poor to use the 200 varieties of minerals itself and lacks the proper leadership needed to gain trust of international bodies which may obtain permits to transport the minerals.
Quartz reports that some of the mineral stockpiles are the largest in the world. Recognizing their value, the cash-strapped nation frequently uses them to bring in additional revenue — regardless if methods of doing so are illegal. The tiny nation is very reliant on South Korea, China, and Russia for much of its financial and energy needs, and has made small deals with the neighboring countries. So far, however, North Korea has barely tapped into its abundant reserves of resources.
According to Lloyd Vasey, the founder of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, North Korea lacks the required mining equipment and is unable to purchase new machinery due to its “dire economical situation.” As a result, the country’s mining production has fallen by approximately 30 percent since the 1990’s. “The energy shortage, and the age and generally poor condition of the power grid,” wrote Vasey.
Numerous times, the nation has attempted to capitalize on its mineral abundance irregardless of United Nations sanctions. In August of 2016, for instance, Egyptian officials seized more than 2,3000 tons of iron ore from a North Korean cargo ship which was en route to the Sue Canal. Business Insider relays that the mass amount of iron, along with 30,000 rocket-propelled grenades, was recorded as the largest ammunition seizure in the history of sanctions against the tiny country. According to a UN report published in February, the seizure “showed the country’s use of concealment techniques, as well as an emerging nexus between entities trading in arms and mineral.”
As a result, North Korea faces a catch-22. Until leadership changes or the country figures out a way to make suitable partnerships, the huge stores of untapped deposits will continue to sit underground, and the nation’s poverty-stricken population will continue to suffer.
I am Luke Miller, content manager at Truth Theory and creator of Potential For Change. I like to blend psychology and spirituality to help you create more happiness in your life.Grab a copy of my free 33 Page Illustrated eBook- Psychology Meets Spirituality- Secrets To A Supercharged Life You Control Here