DPRK rich in rare earth resources
A series of scientific research projects have been undertaken in the country to develop and make effective use of rare earth resources.
Rich natural resources are material wealth and priceless asset for rapidly developing the national economy.
The rapid development of the frontier technologies throughout the world is sparking fierce scramble for securing natural resources.
Rare earths are called seasoning powder of industry, vitamins of materials and “treasury of new materials” for the distinctive role they are playing in developing the economy and cutting-edge technologies.
In particular, they are highly regarded as strategic resources of the 21st century as they are used as core materials in making state-of-the-art equipment.
The DPRK has abundant rare earth deposits.
The estimated deposits of rare earths in the country amount to tens of millions of tons in content.
Statistics show that the world deposits of rare earths are 150 to 160 million tons in content and it is predicted that the country would be advanced in the world ranking in terms of estimated amount of deposit.
The Korean rare earth resources are mostly distributed in North Pyongan, Kangwon and South Hwanghae Provinces.
Rare earth(RE) ores are bastnaesite, monazite and britholite. There are also pyrochlore and other ores containing RE and other rare elements.
The country has a dozen large deposits in which bastnaesite, britholite, monazite and ilmenite with zircon, and fergusonite are main minerals.
The Jongju deposit, for example, in a britholite deposit containing some ten RE minerals and it has over a dozen million tons of rare earths.
In the past experts established an industrial method of processing bastnaesite and developed RE microelement fertilizers and different kinds of additives for stockbreeding, fish culture, sericulture and for the cultivation of tree samplings, medicinal herbs and muchroom, RE welding rods, RE dyeing additives, RE plastic stabilizers, RE metal refining agents, RE permanent magnet, RE alloys and RE medicines and medical appliances.
They have recently launched a joint research project on the chemistry of RE materials and its application. It includes research into RE compounds and materials by quantum chemistry, RE-titanic dioxide(TiO2)photo catalyst, RE-zeolite catalyst and other catalysts, RE fluorescent materials and long-life afterglow materials, bio-functional substance in the form of RE-organic complex and the making of RE nano materials by using supercritical fluid.
Research is also going on to comprehensively process britholite, pyrochlore and other useful mineral resources abundant in the country and collect all valuable elements such as zirconium, niobium, tantalum and apatite as well as rare earths.
The country is promoting the development of new kinds of high-tech products urgently needed for the national economic construction and the improvement of the people’s living standard through the development of RE functional materials and making effective use of them.