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Report: North Korea coal miners struggle to find work after sanctions

June 12 (UPI) — Hundreds of North Korean coal miners are out of work because of sanctions against the country, and more people are grumbling about Kim Jong Un‘s missile program.

A source in North Korea’s South Pyongan Province told South Korean news service Daily NK unemployment is a problem for workers who once depended on the coal industry for their income.

“Laborers who once worked in coal mines owned by one of dozens of trading companies have lost their jobs and their livelihood is in peril,” the source said.

Suspended coal mine operations are also hurting local businesses.

“People who ran restaurants in coal mining areas or provided logistics in coal transport now have no way of making money,” the source said. “The level of consumption has also gone down.”

North Korean regions that once witnessed thriving coal economies were enjoying a growth spurt that benefited area residents.

But with China no longer importing North Korean coal, car wash businesses, gas stations and central food markets in mining areas have stalled in what was described as economic “mayhem” in the report published Monday.

While China may be implementing international sanctions with its coal ban, the source said local residents are blaming North Korean authorities for the setbacks.

The regime is not taking action to mitigate the crisis, according to the report.

Some of the coal surplus is being moved to other parts of the country, including coal at a mine near the city of Sunchon, which is being sent to Pyongyang thermal power plant.

“People are waiting for exports of coal to resume, but it seems like those at the top only think about state-owned enterprises,” Daily NK’s source said. “The top isn’t making policy but just playing with missiles every day. Complaints are on the rise.”

China announced a decision to suspend all North Korea coal imports on Feb. 18.

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