North Korean authorities recently ordered more personnel to help accelerate recovery efforts focused on Gomdok Mine, which suffered damage during typhoons earlier this year.
According to a source in South Hamgyong Province on Friday, North Korean authorities ordered the Ministry of Social Security, Ministry of State Security and the Korean People’s Army to increase the number of personnel at the recovery site by 20%.
The source told Daily NK that both civilians and soldiers are hard at work at the mine making repairs, but North Korean authorities believe that their work is progressing too slowly.
The recovery efforts so far have led to the quick rebuilding of houses for the mine’s workers – a feat met with praise by the authorities; however, efforts focused on repairing mine shafts and other areas have proceeded much more slowly, so much so that the authorities are reportedly unsure when the mine can start operating again.
According to the source, recovery efforts have failed to repair even 50% of the damage to the mine shafts caused by the typhoons.
“Several places in Gomdok Mine, including the shafts and quarry, have not seen progress in their repairs, so there are concerns that the current number of personnel will be unable to finish the repairs by the Eighth Party Congress,” the source said. “That’s why the government moved to order more personnel to the site.”
North Korean authorities reportedly expressed concern over the slow progress made in the repairs as the weather continues to get colder, and stated that progress must accelerate in the repairs after understanding “all circumstances” on the site through communication with local engineers and miners.
The authorities also ordered the South Hamgyong Province Party Committee to take charge and solve any problems that it can. For those problems it is unable to solve, the committee was ordered to report to the Central Committee to “ensure that required measures are put into place.”
The source told Daily NK that the authorities aim to accelerate progress in the repairs “using any means necessary.”
The source also mentioned that the authorities emphasized that the repairs must be made post haste because Gomdok Mine is the “foundation” of the “Five-year Plan for National Economic Development,” which is expected to be announced in January.