Japanese mining and energy resources (World War II)

Japanese mining and energy resources (World War II)

Japan possesses very few mining resources. There are coal deposits in Hokkaidō and Kyūshū (close to Nagasaki). 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. Due to its abundant rainfall and high mountains, Japan is well placed to exploit hydroelectric power. Japanese used 80% of these energy sources in Asia but only possessed a small proportion of its total of energy sources.

The main industrial coal found in Japan in abundance was not adequate for heavy industry. Production in Japan was 55,000 tonnes. Additionally, Japan obtained other industrial quality coal from Korea, Manchukuo and the Occupied China mainland. Their iron production was low: just 2% of the United States regular iron extraction, bolstered by iron pyrite production where Japan had 6% of the world production. There was verylittle extraction of petroleum. The Japanese generated 8,000 megawatts (MW) of hydraulic energy, favourably comparing with American electric energy production, and was a valuable energy source for their industries, in particular for textiles.

Japan had no bauxite (aluminum source), but obtained it from the Dutch Indies prior to the war, and Manchukuo. Mineral surveys apparently identified sources of bauxite in the Palau group (South Pacific Mandate). In total, the Japanese only reached 6% of U.S. production. The need for gold and silver was fulfilled in modest quantities from the Japanese mainland and some abundant sources in Korea. Tungsten for iron works was provided from the Occupied China Mainland.

In Japan, there were no sources of tin or natural rubber. The latter critical material was obtained previously from the Dutch Indies and Malaca and, thanks to German industrial collaboration, has some synthetic rubber plants. The production of iron ingots in 1939 was 5% of U.S. production and steel production 11% of American production. Japan in peace time was the sixth nation in iron production in the world.

Japanese Mineral Production (1916–1933)

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.

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.

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.

*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.An iron center in Korea was Whangai, whose production was an average of 150,000 tonnes in 1932.

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.
*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 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.
*Zinc: The total Japanese production of this mineral was 60,000 and 15,000 tonnes.
*Graphite: In Korea were abundant deposits of these mineral, with production at 80,000 tonnes.
*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.
*Aluminum: Additionally at Liaoning deposits, Japan possessed other sources of Bauxite in Palau Island (South Mandate)
*Phosphate: In Angaur (South Mandate) there was one important deposit which produced 60,000 tonnes annually.
*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.
*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.
*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.
*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.

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.

Japanese mineral investment in Mengchiang

Japanese put in production the iron mine in Hsuanhua-Lungyen with a reserve of 91,645,000 tonnes in 1941; and analyzed the reserves of Coal in land, 504 tonnes and a potential production of 202,000 of tonnes (1934). The Mengchiang iron deposits exported minerals directly to Japan. At the same time Japanese seeking the coal reserves of Suiyuan (another Mengchiang occupied sector) which were 417 million tonnes and one potential extraction of 58,000 tonnes in 1940 for future investments.

Electric energy

In 1925, Japan evaluated its hydro-electric power reserves at approximately 5,000,000 hp of which some 1,500,000 hp was in active use. Other energy sources were Electric Power, provided from water, coal or oil. The rugged geography and intense rains in the Central range zones, favoured the hydro energy source. In 1936 the total consumption of Hydroelectric energy was raised to c 20,000 million kW·h, compared to 5,000 million kWh produced for Coal. There was a growth of 50% in Hydroelectric energy in the five previous years, could not satisfy the total demand growth nationwide of 250%. Japan counted hydraulic energy sources not exploited, but in the majority they were not significant and possessed few sites for water reserves for these installations.

There was a theoretical capacity of production of 10 GW. In 1936 there were 12,176,098 customers but the number of lights represent an average of 3.6%. The major use of electricity corresponded to three great centres surrounding the Japanese Alps: Tokyo and Yokohama; Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe; and Nagoya. The development of these energy sources was from 1891 to the first Chinese-Japanese War in 1894–1895.

Government research in 1923 estimated that the total power needed was 6,500,000 horsepower (4.8 GW) potentially and 14,280,000 horsepower (10.6 GW) in regular level. The total electric generators functioning at the end of 1924 was 4,472 developing 2,230 MW; 1,470 MW from hydroelectric production. During 1933 having augment these empresses in 67,339 to develop 5,000 MW, 3,110 MW from hydroelectric production. Additionally there were various installations in construction.

The most important rivers that arrive at the Sea of Japan are:

*Shinano
*Akano (each one possessed the capacity to develop several million horsepower)
*Jintsu
*Kurobe
*Sho
*Mogami
*Hime
*Kuzuryu
*Joganji
*Tetori

The rivers with courses arriving at the Pacific Ocean are:
*Kiso
*Tenryū (both possess a capacity to develop more than 500,000 horsepower (370 MW)
*Fuji
*Tone
*Oh-ni
*Kitakami
*Abukuma
*Kino These rivers were inconvenient for more extensive use to the principal centres mentioned before.

Some operational electric power plants were: Matsumoto, Kiso, Nagano and Fuji.

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.

Japanese Nuclear energy research

See Also: Japanese Nuclear Weapons Development


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