December 07, 2023

What lies beneath: North Korea’s uranium deposits

All signs point to Pyongyang regime’s ongoing nuclear program development

“Remember that the DPRK has massive uranium deposits,” instructed a North Korean official during a recent visit to Pyongyang. The subject of natural uranium subsequently arose again during discussions. This was the first time in three years that it was raised in our security-focused conversations.

Partly as a result of the subject’s previous obscurity, uranium-mining activities had indeed escaped my curiosity. A brief examination of open-source literature on North Korea suggests that the country’s uranium mining has evaded the attention of most other analysts as well. So how “massive” are the DPRK’s deposits, where do they fit into the nuclear complex, and why does the subject appear to be resurfacing in propaganda?