North Korea / Places We Go

North Korea’s Kangso Mineral Water Factory

Bottles waiting to be filled and sealed at the Kangso Mineral Water Factory:

kangso-mineral-water-factory

The location of this factory in North Korea is not random. Hundreds of feet beneath the factory are large aquifers of pure water that have been naturally carbonated by carbon dioxide (CO2) trapped deep underground. The carbon dioxide is freed from carbonate rocks as the groundwater slowly dissolves them.

This carbonated water gushes up toward the surface, where it is captured and bottled by the company.

Below is the entrance to the Kangso Mineral Water Factory:

kangso-mineral-water-factory

A view of the factory floor inside… All of the bottling equipment was imported from Italy and so it is efficient and is of a high quality, but, still, given the volume of production, it is a surprisingly small operation and is staffed by surprisingly few employees:

kangso-mineral-water-factory

This is how it works…

Old, used bottles of mineral water are collected and brought in to the factory. These bottles are washed off, but still have tattered labels on them. So, the used bottles are fed onto this conveyor system:

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A closeup of the used bottles:

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The used bottles on the conveyor system are fed into this machine below, which removes the labels and sterilizes the bottles:

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So, as you can see below, the previously used, dirty bottles, come out sparkling and as good as new:

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The shiny “new” bottles:

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This girl was selecting out bottles that had cracks or other imperfections that made them unsuitable for being reused:

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The bottles are then fed into a bottling machine where precise amounts of water are injected into the individual bottles and they are sealed. Below, one of the girls is filling a bottle by hand to show us how the machine does it automatically:

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One of the control panels for the bottling machine… I have no idea what any of that means:

control-panel-kangso-mineral-water-factory

The capped bottles rolling out of the bottling machine:

kangso-mineral-water-bottling

Another girl visually inspects the sealed bottles and pulls out any that have problems:

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The bottles that have passed inspection then have a new label placed on them and are packaged up and shipped out to China and the elite of North Korea.

*****

Following the tour of the factory floor, we were directed down this road (all within the fenced grounds of the Kangso facility):

kangso-mineral-water-factory

At the entrance to the building in the background, which serves as a sort of exhibition hall for the water at this site, one finds these cartoonish statues welcoming all… As most dictatorships seem to be, North Korea is full of such figures:

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A section of the exhibition complex had a clear covering over the floor where one can actually see the mineral water frothing up from the depths before it is piped down to the bottling factory.

Inside the exhibition hall… We are having the health benefits of mineral water explained to us:

kangso-mineral-water-factory

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2 thoughts on “North Korea’s Kangso Mineral Water Factory

    • Thank you, Ian. The sites one visits are fairly fluid. The guide makes some calls in the morning and is directed where to take the Westerners that day. Literally, everywhere you visit requires special permission.

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