A Chinese firm has signed into a cooperation deal to jointly develop a gold mine and two iron ore mines in North Korea.
Chinese trading company Baoyuanhengchang entered the agreement with the Investment and Development Group of North Korea in early June, news online portal www.pakistantoday.com.pk reported, citing a Web site announcement released by Baoyuanhengchang on Thursday.
Flags of China and North Korea
Baoyuanhengchang is an international trade company based in Beijing. The Investment and Development Group of North Korea, meantime, is tasked with attracting foreign investment into the cash-strapped North.
Baoyuanhengchang confirmed the plans to develop the mines, as per its pronouncement, noting both parties had conducted field inspections.
"Facility building is already underway and everything is going as planned," it said. No details of the terms, however, were provided.
The pronouncement has been considered a milestone as this was the first time that North Korea publicly announced its efforts in enlisting foreign investors to help develop its potentially vast mineral wealth, Arirang News reported.
North Korea's mineral deposits have been valued at $6.09 trillion.
China, out to capture every potential mineral resource hub in the world, imported 8.42 million tonnes of minerals from North Korea between January and September in 2011, worth $852 million, according to a joint study in November by the South's Yonhap news agency and IBK Economic Research Institute.
Some 8.19 million tonnes of the total imports were anthracite coal, it said.
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