Gomdok Mine, which experienced significant damage from typhoons last year, recently began a “90-day battle” to boost production, Daily NK has learned.
A source in South Hamgyong Province told Daily NK yesterday that the Gomdok Mine has restarted operations despite the fact that not all of the typhoon damage to the facility has been repaired.
“[The authorities] announced that the 90-day battle would last until Apr. 2 following a day of rest for New Year’s Day on Jan. 1, and the battle officially began on Jan. 2,” he explained.
North Korean authorities noted in the order that due to the country’s “poor economic situation” the mine must quickly restart operations despite all of the damage not having been repaired yet. Based on the order, this year the mine must complete all of the planned production that was delayed last year because of typhoon damage.
The announcement of the 90-day battle was accompanied by a warning to prevent “accidents” at the mine. The authorities said that many accidents have occurred because miners frequently “failed to be careful,” a catchall phrase that included “drowsiness” in the mine shafts. North Korean authorities specifically singled out mine car drivers, conductors and worker safety officers as those who need to ensure they “properly conduct their jobs.”
After receiving the order, Gomdok Mine’s party committee gave notice that the mine’s workers will not be able to rest on Lunar New Year’s Day or on any national holidays until Apr. 2, the last day of the 90-day battle.
“[Workers at] Gomdok Mine have gone from battle to battle each year without rest to [meet their production goals], but now they have to [make up for] the damage done [to the facility] by the typhoons,” the source said. “Even the mine’s managers are tense because [the mine] has no choice but to make every effort to meet the production goals.”
The source added that because of the mine’s importance for the economy, its management is submitting production-related reports everyday and receiving directives from the government. “The management is suffering from stress as a result,” he added.
Officials from the Central Committee and others from South Hamgyong Province’s party committee are helping to manage the 90-day battle at the mine. According to the source, these officials are actively meeting and discussing ways to fix even small issues as they come up.
The mine’s workers, meanwhile, have not been able to return home since the start of the 90-day battle, and are living inside the mine shafts. The workers’ families are bringing clothes, snacks and food to the workers, the source said.