Mongolian miner Sharyn Gol JSC has agreed on a preliminary deal that would see its coal shipped to South Korea via Russia and North Korea, as the land-locked nation seeks new markets to counterbalance its dependence on China.
Arranging the circuitous route was hailed as a major achievement by Batbaatar Bandan, the company’s chief executive officer. “For Mongolia to have four-country cooperation, I think it is historic,” he said at the signing of a memorandum of understanding at a conference in the capital, Ulaanbaatar.
The company will sell the coal to newly minted Mongol Sammok Logistics Co., a joint venture between South Korea’s Sammok Shipping Co. and an arm of the Mongolian government, according to its general manager, Khaliun Dashzeveg. The coal will be transported more than 4,000 kilometers (2,500 miles) by train to the North Korean port in the city of Rason, via Russia, and then shipped to South Korea, she said.
Khaliun said the agreement could eventually yield 300,000 metric tons of exports a year, although the price of the coal is still under discussion.
Although South Korea bans direct trade with North Korea, it allows trade of natural resources through Rason’s port as long as the product doesn’t originate in the north.