Korea Resources Corporation (KORES) celebrated its 44th anniversary on June 3. Established in 1967, the state-run natural resources developer is working more briskly than ever these days, achieving eye-opening growth back in 2008 when the KORES Act was revised to turn the company into a specialized agency developing natural resources overseas.
79% of its cumulative investments of over 1.3 trillion won were made in a three-year period starting 2008. During the same time, it secured 13 resources development projects overseas. At present, KORES is involved in a total of 35 projects in 15 nations.
The agency’s major strategies are called 2+2 and Plus Alpha. The former is to target the segments in which Korea is relatively weaker, including the development of copper and uranium and Latin American and African markets. The latter is to focus on obtaining rare metals such as lithium.
Back in April of this year, KORES acquired shares of Capstone, a Canadian copper developer, and merged with a Chilean copper mine operator, activities unprecedented in the company’s history. In doing so, KORES succeeded in expanding its copper business to cover the United States, Mexico, Bolivia, Panama, Chile and Peru.
It also landed in Sal de Vida of Argentina and Nx Uno of Chile, two of the world’s largest lithium reserves. Once the Uyuni Project in Bolivia becomes productive, it can be the world’s first enterprise to dominate the lithium triangle of the South American continent.
In the meantime, KORES became the first Korean company to be engaged in bituminous coal mine development in Africa last year by joining the Vlakplaats Project.
During a commemoration ceremony, KORES president Kim Shin-jong showed his affection for the company and gave his appreciation to employees’ industrious efforts. In addition, he said that he will continue endeavoring to further grow KORES during his tenure of office, which is soon to end. “Business trips should be our daily routine if we are able to secure more resources overseas,” he commented, adding, “That is the only and the most effective way to make the right decisions and increase our bargaining power.” The president has been at the forefront of Korea’s natural resource diplomacy, spending most of his presidency out of Korea.
“When the Asian financial crisis broke out in 1997, Korean corporations sold off their mines ahead of others, only to regret it when the prices of natural resources rose again later,” he remarked during a recent interview, adding, “Natural resources development is a risky business, and as such, a long-term perspective and the hedging of risks are musts, which makes me want those companies able to manage risks patiently to take the initiative.”