Sunch'ŏn Uranium Mine

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Last Updated: June 1, 2005
Other Name: 순천광산; Sunchon Mine; Suncheon Mine
Location: Sunch'ŏn (순천시), South P'yŏng'an Province (평안남도), North Korea
Subordinate To: Ministry of Extractive Industries (채취공업성), Cabinet (내각)
Size: Unknown
Facility Status: Unknown

There are conflicting reports about the status of this mine, even from the same sources. According to defector Kim Tae Ho, the mine's uranium was depleted in 1987. Author Chang Chun Ik says the mine was abandoned in 1987 after all accessible uranium had been extracted, but he also says that the mine was in operation as of 1999. The Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute's Technology Center for Nuclear Control also claims the mine is still in operation. Furthermore, other reports claim that the mine was "under development" during the 1990s. In 1994, the Segye Ilbo reported that ore extracted from the Sunch'ŏn Uranium Mine was sent to the Namch'ŏn Chemical Complex (南川化學聯合企業所) in P'yŏngsan-kun, North Hwanghae Province, and to the "April Industrial Enterprise (4月企業所) in Unjŏn-kun, North P'yŏng'an Province." [Note: The "April Industrial Enterprise" in Unjŏn-kun is actually the "Pakch'ŏn Uranium Milling Facility" in Pakch'ŏn-kun, North P'yang'an Province.] The ore extracted from this mine is called "ore number two (2號 鑛石)," which according to Kim Tae Ho, is bulky and hard, calcareous ore.

[1] "Kit'a Pukhanŭi Haekkaebal Kwallyŏn Naeyong," Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute,
[2] Kim Pyŏng Ku et al., Pukhaekkisulch'ongsŏ-I (Taejŏn: Technology Center for Nuclear Control, Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute, November 1999),
[3] Kim Tae Ho, Watashiga Mita Kitachosen Kakukojono Shinjitsu, (Tokyo: Tokuma Shoten, 2003) pp. 19-20, 58-60.
[4] Chang Chun Ik, Pukhan Haek-Missile Chŏnjaeng, (Seoul: Sŏmundang, 1999), pp. 133, 145.
[5] Mun C'hang Jae, "Puk, Yŏngbyŏnwŏnjaro Modu 5 Kae: Wŏnjaryŏk Kanbu," Hankuk Ilbo, 15 April 1992, p. 1, in KINDS,
[6] Lee Yong U, "'Uranium T'amsa Tŭng Haekkaebal Hyŏl'an'/Pukansŏ Kwisunhan 3 Myŏng Kijahoegyŏn," Segye Ilbo, 10 May 1994, p. 26, in KINDS,
[7] Joseph S. Bermudez, Jr., "North Korea's Nuclear Infrastructure," Jane's Intelligence Review, 1 February 1994, p. 77.
[8] Osamu Eya, Kimu Jon Iru Daizukan (Tokyo: Shogakkan, 2000), pp. 64-65.

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