Korea Resources Corp. called for bids on Aug. 8 to sell 10 percent shares in the Cobre Panama copper mine. However, the tender failed with the bidding prices of Japanese, Chinese and Canadian bidders extremely lower than the price the corporation determined based on third-party valuation.
This has to do with the South Korean government’s decision in March 2018. At that time, the government told public enterprises engaged in natural resources development to stop every overseas development project and sell their overseas assets. In other words, the bidders had no reason at all to raise their bidding prices with Korea Resources Corp. having to sell the shares anyway.
Under the circumstances, experts are pointing out that the government should review the decision with the Japanese government controlling the export of strategic items. “If the South Korean government sells important overseas mines by labeling overseas development projects as products of the previous administration’s corruption, South Korea’s natural resource development capabilities will be lost and its resources security will be compromised in less than a decade,” one of them pointed out, adding, “Then, a large number of South Korean companies and industries will be jeopardized as in the case of Japan’s economic retaliation they are currently facing.”