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Mineral Resources Division

  • - Mineral Resources Development Research Center
  • - Resources Recovery Research Center
  • - Resources Utilization Research Center
  • - Center for Carbon Mineralization


The Mineral Resources Research Division is working on securing and effective utilization of finite mineral resources to improve national competitiveness and solve resource shortage problems. In particular, the Division is developing key technologies for exploration, mining, beneficiation, smelting, and utilization of overseas and domestic mineral resources. It also works on efficient extraction of valuable metals from low-grade ores and reclamation of urban ores, such as byproducts and wastes. Other areas of research activities focus on the extraction of rare resources, such as lithium, boron, strontium, magnesium, and uranium from seawater and making from them chemical compounds. The Mineral Resources Research Division consists of the Mineral Resources Development Research Center, Resources Recovery Research Center, and Resources Utilization Research Center.

Mineral Resources Development Research Center

In order to secure domestic and overseas mineral resources, the Center conducts geological surveys and genetic studies of ore deposits, and develops techniques for unmanned airborne and detailed geophysical exploration along with mine design and evaluation. In Korea, we evaluate the mine capacity through geological surveys and genetic studies of the promising mineralized belt. Together with other resource-rich countries we consistently carry out exploration activities and maintain international cooperation for securing promising prospects. We conduct researches to develop advanced geophysical exploration techniques using unmanned aerial vehicles for mineral resources. These techniques are specifically applied to exploration of iron deposits. We also conduct precise geophysical exploration using boreholes and optimal mining design to develop ore deposits in the deep underground. In addition, we construct multi-scale 3D geological models of the potentially mineralized zones in Korea.

  • Securement of mineral resources such as Ti-bearing iron deposit and skarn mineralized belt in the Taeback area
  • Securement of several potential mineral deposits through implementation of cooperative projects with two foreign countries
  • Development of unmanned airborne exploration techniques and production of geophysical anomaly maps
  • Multi-scale 3D geological modeling for mineralized zones and production of maps for potential ore deposits in the southern part of the Mount Taebaek
  • Development of 4D fusion geophysical techniques to investigate subsurface physical properties
  • Development of techniques to design mine layouts and to assess the development pattern of the mine test-bed
  • Development of techniques for 4D mine hazard prediction
Resources Recovery Research Center

The 3R Center is engaged in research and development activities on resource recovery from land and marine minerals and recycled materials. Utilization of low-grade ores and non-recyclable waste is gaining importance due to the depletion of available high-quality deposits Special attention should be given to key technologies for futuristic resource development. The 3R Center includes a number of experts with various research backgrounds. Our research activity can be divided into three categories: mineral processing, extractive metallurgy, and resource recycling. Mineral processing deals with optimization of use of domestic minerals through the development of eco-friendly and economic concentration processes. Our efforts focus on the securement of metal and non-metal resources, which are critical for the development of certain industries. The extractive metallurgy focuses on the development of technologies for high efficiency / low energy / eco-friendly smelting and refining. We are actively developing urban mine process to overcome the shortage of natural resources in Korea. Precious metals are recovered through extraction, concentration, separation and refining of industrial and household waste. Also, a hybrid technology for pyro/hydro/electro/bio-refining is currently under establishment.

Main Activities
  • Development of technology and equipment for dry preparation of low-grade coal based on KAT process for commercialized scale
  • Development of beneficiation technologies to secure thorium energy and rare metal resources from placer deposits
  • Recovery of rare metals (nickel, cobalt, vanadium, molybdenum etc.), precious metals (platinum, palladium, etc.), and energy metal (uranium, thorium etc.) using extractive metallurgy
  • Technological development of the Deep-sea Manganese Nodules Process
  • Development of fusion technologies for obtaining metals from primary and secondary spent batteries
Resources Utilization Research Center

The Resource Use Research Center is engaged in research and manufacturing of industrial raw materials using domestic and overseas mineral resources, circulatory resources and dissolved seawater resources and trying to make them high values for the stable supply of industrial raw materials. Stable supply and efficient use of resources has a big influence on improving the competitiveness of nation and enhancing the quality of peoples life. By creating a basic technological ecology that can stably supply industrial materials that are diversifying and have increasing demands, the center seeks to establish a solid foundation for the supply of industrial resources that are the basis of the development of national industry, create food items for the 21st century, and contribute to the improving of the quality of peoples life. The Resource Use Research Center has been focusing on developing ecofriendly and highly practical core technologies to use both domestic and foreign mineral resources, circulatory resources, as well as useful resources melted in the sea. Based on these technologies, the center is putting continuous efforts to improve global competitiveness and create future food items by strengthening the supply base of industrial materials.

Main Activities
  • Develop nano-based raw materials and rare-earth based manufacturing technologies from mineral resources (magnetit, limestone, siliceous mudstone, graphite, rare earth elements, etc.)
  • Develop substantial manufacturing technologies that store graphite energy using graphite
  • Manufacture high-performance hydrogen storage alloys and application technologies
  • Develop re-circulatory and use technologies containing valuable metal from industrial byproducts (silicon sludge, ferromanganese smelt byproducts, titanium and tungsten hard-scrap)v
  • Develop the recollection technology of dissolved seawater lithium, magnesium, and strontium resources
Center for Carbon Mineralization

The Center for Carbon Mineralization develops and promotes commercialization of advanced mineral carbonation technologies for simultaneous processing of various inorganic industrial byproducts and emitted CO2. The main research areas are concerned with the utilization of mineral carbonation and convergence of municipal and industrial waste such as coal fly ash and slag. We also carry out researches on high value-added minerals through the development of CO2 utilization and mitigation technology using middle- and low-grade minerals. This convergence commercialization project will be promoted to the developing countries through integration of carbon mineralization technology with CTCN.

Main Activities
  • Development of mineral carbonation and related applied technologies using natural minerals and rocks
  • Development of mineral carbonation technologies using industrial byproducts, such as slag and waste rock
  • Development of technologies for manufacturing high value-added carbonate minerals with varied morphology, such as square, needle-shaped, and nanowhiskers
  • Development of low-carbon highly-functional green cement using industrial byproducts, such as coal ash residues
  • Establishing national and international networks for commercialization of the related technologies to mitigate climate changes