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SEOUL, Sept. 19 (Yonhap) -- North Korea possesses roughly 6,986 trillion won (US$6.4 trillion) worth of untapped mineral resources, a report by a ruling party lawmaker claimed Thursday.
The findings released by Rep. Kim Eul-dong's office and based on data provided by the National Assembly Research Service showed the communist country having some 20 types of economically viable resources.
The total is roughly 22 times greater than the estimated 319 trillion won worth of minerals buried in South Korea, the Saenuri lawmaker said.
Of the noteworthy minerals buried in the North, Kim said the country has the second-largest reserves of magnesite in the world and the third-largest deposits of graphite.
The North's magnesite and graphite reserve is estimated at 4 billion tons and 2 million tons, respectively. The country also has sizable quantities of tungsten and zinc.
The report added that there are currently companies from six countries engaged in the mineral business in the isolationist country that include South Korean, Chinese and Japanese firms.
Of these, the Chinese businesses are the most aggressive with 20 projects underway while South Korea only is engaged in a single project.
"Of the minerals in the North, South Korea is totally reliant on foreign imports in the areas of magnesite and zinc," the lawmaker said. She said that under such circumstances it makes sense for the two sides to work with each other in the mineral business.
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