North Korea

Main commodities: Cu Au Ag Zn Pb
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The Hyesan copper deposit is located in Yanggang Province in northern North Korea, ~2.5 km south of the Yalu River which marks the border with China (#Location: 41° 21' 51"N, 128° 9' 24"E).

Little information is available in English language literature. A mine exploited the deposit between 1970 and 1994 when the underground workings were flooded. Production in 1993 is reported to have totalled 90 000 tonnes of 16% Cu concentrates from a treatment plant with a nominal capacity of 1.2 Mt of ore per annum. Operations re-commenced in 2010. The mine is said to be the largest Cu producer in North Korea. The mine is divided into three mine blocks named Chengeun, Bonsan and Masan.

The deposit lies within the Mid to Upper Palaeoproterozoic Hyesan-Rivong Rift Basin/Trough (aulacogene) located immediately to the east of the Nangrim (or Langrim) Block of the Eastern North China Craton. See the separate record for the Komdok Zn-Pb deposit for an overview of the geology and setting of the Hyesan-Rivong Rift Basin.

The host sequence within the Hyesan-Rivong Rift Basin is dominated by Mid to Late Palaeoproterozoic carbonate rocks, mainly dolostones and limestone/marbles. The Hyesan deposit is interpreted to be a porphyry-skarn style of mineralisation formed within this carbonate sequence. Ore sulphide samples yield ages of 127.4±4.5 Ma (Rb-Sr isochron; Zhang et al., 2019) in the Early Cretaceous, suggesting mineralisation is related to a phase of the regional Jurassic to Lower Cretaceous magmatism that dominates the geology of the Korea Pensinsula. The mineralisation assemblage includes chalcocite, chalcopyrite, galena and sphalerite.

The estimated resource at Hyesan (after Nautilus Institute, Special Report 'The Mining Industry of North Korea', August 2011) was:
  160 Mt @ 1.5% Cu, 0.6 g/t Au, 180 g/t Ag, 3.2% Pb, 3.6% Zn

The most recent source geological information used to prepare this summary was dated: 2019.    
This description is a summary from published sources, the chief of which are listed below.
© Copyright Porter GeoConsultancy Pty Ltd.   Unauthorised copying, reproduction, storage or dissemination prohibited.

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