Satellite Photos Show the Extent of North Korea’s Uranium Mine Collapse


A North Korean uranium mine used to help make nuclear bombs has partially collapsed with satellite photos showing the extent of the damage.

The satellite images provide proof of the disaster from inside the secretive country. The Pyongsan mine is the main source of uranium ore used for North Korea’s nuclear warheads.

Freelance analyst Jacob Bogle noticed the collapse of the Pyongsan mine thanks to his comprehensive satellite maps of the isolated country.

“The Pyongsan mine is underground, so the only visible aspects of it should be tunnel entrances, surface facilities like crushing equipment, and piles of coal,” he tells the Metro.

“However, what has developed at the mine is a series of irregular pits with no associated activity — no trucks, no bucket excavators, and nothing to suggest they were created to facilitate mining.”



Bogle believes that the recent collapses suggest that the area has been mined out and lost its structural support.

However, despite the devastation there is unlikely to be an interruption in the supply of uranium to the regime.

The mine, located less than 30 miles from the border with South Korea, had an active shaft refurbished recently which might have been affected by the cave-ins.

“Kim Jong Un announced in December that he wants to build ‘exponentially’ more nuclear weapons,” says Bogle. “To do that, more ore has to be mined from Pyongsan.

“Given the area’s track record, that can only mean even more accidents and cave-ins as greater and greater amounts of material is removed for processing.”

Utilizing Satellites

Bogle is a North Korea analyst and has created the most comprehensive map of the country that is publicly available.

“A lot of this is information they [North Korea] would not like to be out in the public,” Fogle says on a Vice documentary.

“They don’t care about human rights. They tend to be portrayed as caricatures, but they’re not. To have been able to hold on to power and they are not going to let that go just because some guy in Florida just put that all out there for the public to see.”

More of Bogle’s work can be fond on his website and Twitter.