Mining in Japan

Mining in Japan

Mining in Japan is minimal because Japan possesses very few mining resources. Japanese mining was a rapidly declining industry in the 1980s. Domestic coal production shrank from a peak of 55 million tons in 1960 to slightly more than 16 million tons in 1985, while coal imports grew to nearly 91 million tons in 1987. Domestic coal mining companies faced cheap coal imports and high production costs, which caused them chronic deficits in the 1980s. In the late 1980s, Japan's approximately 1 million tons of coal reserves were mostly hard coal used for coking. Most of the coal Japan consumed is used to produce electric power.

Oil wells have been drilled off the west coast of Honshū and Japan has oil concessions in North Sakhalin. Iron is scarce outside of Hokkaidō and northwest Honshū, and iron pyrite has been discovered in Honshū, Shikoku and Karafuto. A modest quantity of copper and gold is mined around Honshū, Hokkaidō and Karafuto. Japanese used 80%[citation needed] of these energy sources in Asia but only possessed a small proportion of its total of energy sources.

Japanese coal is found at the extreme ends of the country, in Hokkaidō and Kyūshū, which have, respectively, 45 and 40 percent of the country's coal deposits. Kyūshū's coal is generally of poor quality and hard to extract, but the proximity of the Kyūshū mines to ports facilitates transportation. In Hokkaido, the coal seams are wider and can be worked mechanically, and the quality of the coal is good. Unfortunately, these mines are located well inland, making transportation difficult. In most Japanese coal mines, inclined galleries, which extended in some places to 9.71 kilometers underground, were used instead of pits. This arrangement is costly, despite the installation of moving platforms. The result is that a miner's daily output is far less than in Western Europe and the United States and domestic coal costs far more than imported coal.

As the coal mining industry declined, so did the general importance of domestic mining to the whole economy. Only 0.2% of the labor force was engaged in mining operations in 1988, and the value added from mining was about 0.3% of the total for all mining and manufacturing. Domestic mining production supplies an important quantity of some nonmetals: silica sand, pyrophyllite clay, dolomite, and limestone. Domestic mines are contributing declining shares of the country's requirements for some metals: zinc, copper, and gold. Almost all of the ores used in the nation's sophisticated processing industries are imported.


Japanese Mineral Production (1916–1933)

Quantities of Mineral Production in Thousands of Tonnes (unless stated) (1916–1933)[citation needed]
Mineral 1916–1920 1921–1925 1926–1930 1931–1933
Gold (ounces) 7,530 7,731 10,317 12,381
Silver (144) 184 120 155 166
333| 89 59 73 73
Lead 9.6 3.1 3.5 5.2
Iron foundry 154 419 103 167
Steel 322 417 1,661 2,288
Iron Pyrite 117 203 540 793
Coal 27,562 28,888 32,890 28,676
Sulphur 76 41 83 75
Petroleum 402.3 309 300 343
Tin - - 1.3 1.6
Zinc - - 20 27
Salt - - 630 547
Others - - - -
Total - - - -
Extraction Values ¥M (1916–1933)[citation needed]
Mineral 1916–1920 1921–1925 1926–1930 1931–1933
Gold 10.0 10.7 15.3 21.2
Silver 10.5 5.7 5.7 4.4
Copper 106.8 42.8 54.7 16.4
Lead 3.3 0.9 0.8 0.8
Iron foundry 22.7 23.3 5.7 6.9
Steel 77.4 61.0 141.8 129.5
Iron Pyrite 1.4 2.8 7.2 6.8
Coal 273.5 242.7 236.3 147.0
Sulphur 3.3 2.2 3.6 3.9
Petroleum 28.5 22.7 14.5 9.1
Tin - - - -
Zinc - - - -
Salt - - - -
Others 27.1 10.6 11.5 10.0
Total 547.0 425.8 496.2 376.0
Mineral resource extractions represented, with totals ¥M[citation needed]
Location 1913 1919 1931 1936
Japan mainland 146,849,000 641,128,000 241,826,000 589,400,000
Korea 8,204,000 25,415,000 21,742,000 110,430,000
Japanese Empire 159,186,000 677,846,000 283,282,000 746,089,000

Coal deposits

The Japanese Mining Office, in 1925 referred to coal reserves in the Empire of 8,000 million tonnes, or 2,933 million tonnes (Kyūshū, Miiki & Mitsui deposits), 2,675 or 3,471 million tonnes (Hokkaidō, ones 1,113,600 million from Yubari mine), 1,362 million tonnes (Karafuto, in Kawakami deposits), 614 million tonnes (Honshū), 385 million tonnes (Formosa, in the Kirun area), 81 million tonnes (Korea). Extraction in Japan during 1912 was 20,000,000 tonnes, in 1932 in 30,000,000 tonnes and grew in 1941 to 55,500,000 tonnes and was divided between the following sources, in tonnes: Korea (5,000,000), Formosa (2,500,000) and Karafuto (2,500,000) and additional imports 4,000,000 tonnes from China and Indochina. Deposits in Heijo (Korea) produced 2,282,000 tonnes, Sakito, Matsushima, Takashima, Chikuo, Miiki, Karatsu (Kyūshū), Ube, Joban (Honshū) and Uryu, Ishikari, Kushiro, Akan, Shiwanuka (Hokkaidō), Kawakami (Karafuto) and North Formosa. In Pyongyang (Keijo), the coal production in 1932 was 1,000,000 tonnes.[citation needed]

Oil sources

In 1925, the local petroleum reserves were estimated at 2,956,000 barrels in Niigata, Akita and Nutsu deposits, additionally at Sakhalin concessions. Japanese Petroleum production was in 1941 2,659,000 barrels — about the daily production in the U.S., and 0.1% of world petroleum production. In Manchukuo, oil wells gave Japan 1,000,000 of additional petroleum tonnes per year. The local oils fields of Akita, Niigata and Nutsu produced 2,659,000 barrels. Additionally, they obtained oil in Formosa (1,000,000) and Soviet Sakhalin (1,000,000) and the Manchu oil distillery process. The use of oil products in 1939 raised 25,400,000 barrels. Japan additionally made foreign purchases in California, the Dutch Indies and Mexico.[citation needed]

Iron deposits

The iron resources were insufficient. Total reserves were 90 M tonnes of their own, 10 M or 50 M in Korea (Kenjiho) and Formosa. Japan imported iron from Tayeh (China), 500,000 tonnes in 1940, from Malacca, Johore and other points, 1,874,000 tonnes, from Philippines 1,236,000 tonnes, India sent 1,000,000 tonnes and 3,000,000 processed iron in bars and Australia sent a similar quantity. Japan used much scrap iron in steel processes and exported small quantities for its provinces and Manchukuo. Local production was 953,000 tonnes in 1941 provided principally from Hokkaidō (Kuttchan and Muroran deposits) other local mines were in Honshū (Kamaishi) and other areas.[citation needed]

  • Japanese Iron & Steel industrial local centers:

The principal centers of iron processing were in Kuttchan and Muroran (Hokkaidō), Kamaishi (Honshū) and Kenjiho (Korea). In Kamaishi factory , it processed 65,000 tonnes of iron bars and 47,000 of steel. The total iron and steel production in Japanese Empire (including Manchukuo) in 1940 was 6,455,000 tonnes, in Yawata (Kyūshū) 2,900,000 tonnes complemented with Osaka-Kobe and Tokyo Yokohama iron factories another 1,000,000 tonnes.[citation needed]

An iron center in Korea was Whangai, whose production was an average of 150,000 tonnes in 1932.[citation needed]

Other mineral deposits

  • Copper: The Japanese production of copper in 1917 was 108,000 tonnes, in 1921 54,000 tonnes, in 1926 63,400 tonnes but this production was augmented to 70,000 tonnes in 1931–1937. In 1930–1940 75% of total production was provided from: Ashio, Besshi (Shikoku), Kosaki, Hitachi, and Saganoseki. Korea produced 4,000 tonnes of copper additionally in 1940.[citation needed]
  • Gold & Silver: gold production in Korea was 199,483 troy oz in 1930 rising to 838,709 troy oz. In rivers and mines, other deposits were in Saganoseki (Ōita) Honshū Kuyshu and North Formosa. The total value of gold was 20 M Yen per year. Also Japan imported from overseas. The silver mines were in Kosaki, Kawaga and Hitachi, and others in Hokkaidō (see Konomai gold mine)and Karafuto with Iron Pyrite. The total production of gold was valued at 85 M US Dollars in 1940, 75% combined with copper. In Korea, the gold mines of Unsan and Suian extracted 9 M grammes in 1931.[citation needed]
  • Zinc: The total Japanese production of this mineral was 60,000 and 15,000 tonnes.[citation needed]
  • Graphite: In Korea were abundant deposits of these mineral, with production at 80,000 tonnes.[citation needed]
  • Sulphur: The total p90000000000i rock0 tonnes in 1940. During 1893–1894, small-scale extraction of this mineral started in Shashukotan (Shiashkotan) and the Chirihoi Islands (40s decade) in North Chisima (Kuriles) island too.[citation needed]
  • Aluminum: Additionally at Liaoning deposits, Japan possessed other sources of Bauxite in Palau Island (South Mandate)[citation needed]
  • Phosphate: In Angaur (South Mandate) there was one important deposit which produced 60,000 tonnes annually.[citation needed]
  • Uranium: In Northeast Korea and Hakuto San (Paitou Shan) volcano area were abundant sources of Uranium. These deposits were mined for Nogushi Zaibatsu Clan and the Japanese government for research use.[citation needed]
  • Platinum: The "deposits" of this mineral were in Ponape (Pohnpei); Kosrae and the nearby islands of the Caroline Archipelago (South Pacific Mandate). This element came from ancient indigenous treasures and sarcophagus which were submerged and extracted by divers.[citation needed]
  • Japan possessed deposits with certain importance of tin, chromium, tungsten, lead, molybdenum, iron pyrite, mercury, halite (mine salt) and also gypsum. Additionally from sea water they extracted salt for industrial and food uses and imported from East Africa and North China Coasts.[citation needed]
  • Additionally Japan possessed commercial mineral investments before the war in Kelantan, Trengganu and Johore (Malaca) iron mines representing 1,944,000 tonnes in 1940, other interests in Bintang Island (front at Singapore) were extracted 275,000 tonnes of bauxite, and other extractions of nickel, sulphur, manganese, coal (from Honggay, Indochina) and others.[citation needed]

In comparison, the U.S. produced copper at seven times Japan's rate, extracted coal at 10 times, iron 40 times, and petroleum 432 times. The population in the U.S. was 25% more than Japan's.[citation needed]

Natural gas

Japan still possessed some petroleum sources, but no natural gas source. The exception was in the Industrial Gasification installations that Japanese Government industrialists possessed for industrial research or other related uses.[citation needed]

See also


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