North Korea Energy and Environment Facts

Natural resources and energy

North Korea has among the largest assets in the world of coal, iron ore, limestone, magnesite and tungsten. Recent discoveries show that the country may also have around two-thirds of the known reserves of rare earth metals.

The deposits are mainly found in the mountains in the north; North Korea has close to nine tenths of the Korean Peninsula’s mineral resources. The country also has plenty of copper, lead, graphite, zinc, fluorite, tungsten and precious metals such as gold and silver.

  • COUNTRYAAH: Major exports by North Korea with a full list of the top products exported by the country. Includes trade value in U.S. dollars and the percentage for each product category.

Mining has stagnated with outdated equipment, but there are now signs that new investments are being made. Among other things, a new ministry was set up for the extraction of natural resources in 2010.
Oil was previously bought cheaply from the Soviet Union and China. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, oil shortages prevail. However, there can be both oil and gas under the country’s seabed, and an agreement has been signed with China on oil extraction.

  • Abbreviationfinder: A popular acronym site in the world covering abbreviation for each country. For example, KP stands for North Korea. Visit itypeusa for more information about North Korea.

Much coal is imported from China for most of the energy supply. Most of the electricity, however, comes from hydropower, although the coal here also accounts for just over a third. In the mountains there are many small hydropower plants, but the water supply is uneven, and the country is plagued by chronic energy shortages and has a worn electricity grid. North Korea has one or more nuclear reactors. The light water reactor in Yongbyon is believed to produce electricity, but has probably also been used in the country’s nuclear weapons program (see Foreign Policy and Defense).



Satellite is launched

December 12 – A rocket is launched which places a satellite in orbit (see Current policy).


“Our missiles reach the United States”

North Korea announces that its missiles can now reach the US mainland.


Army chief dismissed

Kim Jong Un dismisses Army chief Ri Yong-ho.


100th Anniversary of Kim II Sung’s Birth

Prior to the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the “Eternal President” Kim Il Sung’s birth, Kim Jong Un is appointed First Secretary of the Labor Party and the deceased Kim Jong Il as “Eternal Secretary General”. Kim Jong Un was also appointed chairman of the Central Military Commission of the Communist Party, a permanent member of the party’s Politburo and first chairman of the National Defense Commission.
In connection with the celebration, a failed attempt is made to launch a satellite into space with the help of a long-range missile.

North Korea Energy and Environment Facts

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