About 300 minerals are found in Korea. Of these, 140 are valuable minerals. Among them, however, about 20 are considered to be valuable mineral resources and only a few are considered economically worth mining. Minerals mined in Korea are mainly non-metallic and coal. In recent years, with the decline of the coal industry, the
non-metallic mineral mining sector makes up the majority of the Korean mining industry.
In 2014 about 98% of total mining produc- tion came from small companies that engage in non-metallic mineral mining, such as kaolin, limestone, and silica mining. Since kaolin, lime- stone, and silica are deposited nationwide, min-
ing companies and workers are also distributed nationwide. Currently, anthracite is the main type of coal being mined. Although anthracite is found in Gangwon-do, Chungcheongnam-do, Chungc- heongbuk-do, Jeollanam-do, and Jeollabuk-do, over half of it is deposited in the Taebaek-si and Jeongseon-gun areas in Gangwon-do.
With a decrease in the demand for coal, the government has initiated a policy to rationalize coal mining; this decrease has also led to the highest number of abandoned mines in the coal industry since 1989. As a result, the number of mines in operation was 374 in 1988, but only 5 remain today.