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Coal in South Korea

AUTHOR: Yoshimitsu Ishihara
DATE: September 1998
PAGES: 28

ABSTRACT:
The Republic of Korea (South Korea) is a typical example of a country which has experienced increasing energy demand in parallel with the economic development in the process of industrialisation. During the period of 1980-95, South Korea's energy demand increased 3.5 times (IEA, 1997a; IEA 1989), while the GDP increased 7.1 times (World Bank, 1997). However, South Korea is very poorly endowed with indigenous energy resources, so South Korea's energy demand will be met by imports. South Korea remains a major consumer of coal. Almost all coal produced in South Korea is anthracite, which has total reserves estimated at 276 Mt. Anthracite production peaked at 24.3 Mt in 1988, but by 1996 had fallen to 5.0 Mt due to the closure of small and uneconomic mines. However, most sectors have increased coal consumption. South Korea is the second biggest coal importer in the world, importing 43.9 Mt in 1995. Coal currently provides around 19% of South Korea's primary energy supply and this share is expected to be maintained as use of other energy sources increases. In fact, South Korea has increased the role of coal in its energy mix, particularly in the industry and power generation sectors. The most serious air pollutants in South Korea are sulphur dioxide and total suspended particulate, which result from the combustion of oil and coal. Environmental regulation and policy have been strengthened in recent years.