SEOUL, Aug. 26 (Yonhap) -- The potential value of North Korea's underground mineral resources is estimated at more than 11 quadrillion won (US$9.7 trillion) as of this year, a report by a private think tank showed Sunday.
The findings are based on the potential value and commercial prices of 18 key minerals in the communist country, the Seoul-based North Korea Resource Institute (NKRI) said.
The figure is much higher than a 7 quadrillion won estimate released by state-run Korea Resources Corp. in 2010, which calculated the value of resources based on 2008 market prices.
"The 4 quadrillion won gap is mainly due to a sharp rise in global prices for raw materials," Choi Kyung-soo, head of the institute said.
Based on the latest estimates, he said, the value of North Korea's mineral resources is roughly 21 times larger than those of South Korea, which stand at $456.3 billion for this year.
Choi said the North Korea's abundance can be attributed to its large reserves of iron ore, coal, limestone and magnesite.
Of all resources checked, South Korea had more rare earth elements than North Korea.
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