Kim Ch'aek Iron and Steel Complex

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Last Updated: April 1, 2003
Other Name: 김책제철연합기업소, 김책제철소, Kim Chaek Ironworks
Location: Ch'ŏngjin (청진시), North Hamgyŏng Province (함경북도),
Subordinate To: Ministry of Metal and Machine-Building Industries
Size: 1,0002 meter area for the steel mill, and 20,000-30,000 employees
Facility Status:

The Kim Chaek Iron and Steel Complex is North Korea's largest steel mill, with an annual production of six million tons of steel and iron, or about half of North Korea's total steel production. Steel is a necessary component for missiles and other weapon systems, and it is very possible that steel produced at this facility has been used in missile manufacturing. Japan's Mitsubishi Cooperation established the Ch'ŏngjin Ironworks (淸津製鋼所) this location during the colonial period in 1938, and its scale was later expanded under Kim Il Song's policy of emphasizing heavy industry in the mid-1950's and 1960s. In 1975, the Soviet Union provided technology and equipment for steel and hot and cold rolled steel production. The Soviet Union provided further assistance during the 1980s, but Russia stopped supplying coke, which improves the strength of iron and steel, after Kim Il Sung's death in 1994. In 1996, the Kim Chaek Iron and Steel Complex installed equipment to produce low-carbon steel, and to produce pig iron without coke. However, there have been reports that coke shortages and possibly other problems have caused the facility to operate well below its capacity during the 1990s. Kim Jong Il visited the facility in August 2000 and stressed the need to modernize the complex. During his August 2001 visit to Russia, Kim Jong Il asked Moscow to provide coke so that Pyongyang could operate the complex at full capacity again. Although Russia exported 2,000 tons of coke in response to the request, it is only one-tenth of the amount that the former Soviet Union once supplied. The facility's name was changed to "the Kim Chaek Ironworks" (金策製鐵所) in 1999, but was changed back to the "Kim Chaek Iron and Steel Complex" (金策製鐵聯合企業所) in 2000. The production processes at this facility were upgraded to increase production in 2001.

North Korea also operates the following steel mills: The Hwanghae Iron and Steel Complex (黃海製鐵聯合企業所) in Songnim (松林市), North Hwanghae Province (黃海北道); the Sŏngjin Steel Complex (城津製鋼聯合企業所) in Kimch'aek (金策市), North Hamgyŏng Province (咸鏡北道); the Ch'ollima Steel Complex (千里馬製鋼聯合企業所) in Namp'o (南浦市); the Ch'ŏngjin Ironworks (淸津製鋼所) in Ch'ŏngjin (淸津市), North Hamgyŏng Province (咸鏡北道); the 4.13 Ironworks (4.13 製鋼所) in Namp'o (南浦市); the No. 8 Ironworks (8號製鋼所) in Sŏnggan-kun (城干郡), Chagang Province (慈江道); and the Taedonggang Ironworks (大同江製鋼所).

North Korea also has the following non-ferrous metal production facilities: Namp'o Refinery (南浦製練所) in Namp'o (南浦市); Munp'yŏng Refinery (文坪製練所) in Munch'ŏn (文川市), Kangwŏng Province (江原道); Hŭngnam Refinery (興南製練所) in South Hamgyŏng Province (咸鏡南道); Haeju Refinery (海州製練所) in South Hwanghae Province (黃海南道); Pukch'ang Aluminum Factory (北倉알루미늄工場) in South P'yŏng'an Province (平安南道); Tanch'ŏn Refinery (端川製練所) in South Hamgyŏng Province (咸鏡南道); 9.21 Refinery (9.21製練所) in Kangwŏn Province (江原道); and the P'yŏngbuk Refinery (平北製練所) in North P'yŏng'an Province (平安北道).

[1] Shim Kyu Sŏk, "<Pukhansan'ŏpshisŏl> - Kimchaekjech'ŏlso," Yonhap News Agency, 18 July 2000,
[2] "The Largest Steel Complex in N.K. Completes Its Reparation," Joongang Ilbo, 23 May 2001,
[3] ROK Ministry of Unification, Pukhan Kaeyo 2000 (Seoul: Ministry of Unification, December 1999), pp. 352-355.
[4] Kim Yong Yun, Tong'il Kyongje, 15 January 2002, pp. 52-68, in "ROK Researcher Examines Technological Development in North Korea," FBIS Document ID KPP20020213000068.
[5] Charles Lee, "N. Korean Leader Calls for Metal Industry Development," United Press International, 4 August 2000, in Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe,
[6] Central Broadcasting Station, 12 November 2000, in "Kimchaek Steel Complex Production Innovations Reported," BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, in Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe,
[7] Ch'oe Wŏn Ki, "Pukhan Kimch'aekchech'ŏlso Kadong Ol Sŭt'op," Joongang Ilbo, 24 March 1996, p. 25, in KINDS,
[8] Lee Dong Jun, "Puk-Rŏ Kyŏnghyŏp Hyŏn'an," Hankook Ilbo, 29 July 2001, in Naver News,
[9] Kim Byŏng Ch'an, "Chŏngbu 'Kimchaekjech'ŏlso Kadongjungdan' Palp'yo/Sashilyŏbu P'agŭphyo'gwa Nun'gil," Hankook Ilbo, 15 April 1996, p. 13, in KINDS,

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