July 30, 2009 11:02
A Chinese investment company developing a copper mine in North Korea with a North Korean company sanctioned by the UN Security Council has reportedly called an abrupt halt to the project.
An industry source in China said the investment firm sent a letter to NHI Shenyang Mining Machinery, the company it had commissioned to build facilities for the mine in Hyesan, North Korea, telling it to stop construction. An estimated 400,000 tons of copper are deposited there.
The Chinese firm had signed an agreement with (North) Korea Mining Development Trading Corporation to develop the mine in November 2006. But the North Korean partner was blacklisted by the UN Security Council after North Korea carried out its latest nuclear test.
The industry source said, "When Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping visited Pyongyang in June last year, he pledged full support for the development of the Hyesan copper mine so that it could become a model for investment by Chinese business in North Korea. This prompted NHI to hurry construction so that production could start in September this year."
But he added the Chinese government apparently persuaded the investment firm to stop the project as Beijing takes part in the UN sanctions. "Otherwise, it's unusual for a project to be stopped at this late stage," he said. The investment firm reportedly gave NHI no reason for the cancellation.
- Copyright © Chosunilbo & Chosun.com