Jeongseon Dong-won Coal Mine 정선 동원탄광

The Dong-won Coal Mine in Jeongseon County, Gangwon-do was the last in the province. When it closed in 2004, the Korean government promised the town 100 billion but the town has yet to see most of the money.  With the loss of the mine, there is a feeling of emptiness in the town.  However, Gangwon Land casino has opened bringing a bit of liveliness and income.  

Now the mine sits abandoned although tours can be taken.  These pictures were taken in 2011 and I believe they have cleaned it up a bit since then.  However, there still remains a sense of loneliness and loss in the photos.

It is also important to note that from April 21, 1980 to April 24, 1980, there was a huge demonstration and protest in which 6,000 workers and their families protested the mine's management and the police sent in to the qualm the unrest.  160 people were injured and one policeman died.  

More information from Joong-ang Ilbo (Korean).

Former President Chun Doo-hwan used this event to consolidate his power in Seoul.  Almost exactly one month later (May 18, 1980) President Chun would send the Korean military to Gwangju to fight and kill the democratic protesters. (The death toll of the Gwangju Massacre is unknown. Official state reports hold at 700 while other independent sources claim it is over 2,000.)

Here are my photos from the coal mine taken in 2011.

Here are photos from the strike, protest, and aftermath.  Photos taken from Joong-ang Ilbo and Korea's Democratic Archives.

For the full page go to Naver news here.