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Post Tour

Date June 22 (Sat) ~ 24 (Mon), 2019
  • Day 1: The Korean DMZ area and Landscape
  • Day 2: Mine Soil: Pollution and Remediation
  • Day 3: Limestone Cave and Temple
  • Room and board * Monday night accommodation excluded.
  • Transportation
  • English speaking guide
  • All Admission fee
Ticket USD 500/person (Onsite purchasing is not possible.)
How to Apply Available during the online registration process
*Application Due: May 19, 2019
Itinerary Seoul → DMZ areas (Dorasan Station, Dora Observatory, The 3rd Infiltration Tunnel, Exhibition Hall etc.) → Wonju City → Hotel in Kangwon Land, Gangwon Province
Requirement Foreign participants should have a passport in hand to enter the DMZ area! Koreans are also required to show the photo ID.
Course Description

The unique place in the world being divided one country into the two! The Korean Demilitarized Zone is a weapon-free buffer zone between South Korea and North Korea as a strip of land running across the Korean Peninsula. The DMZ is a border barrier that divides the Korean Peninsula roughly in half. It was created by agreement between North Korea, the People's Republic of China and the United Nations in 1953. The DMZ is 250 km (160 miles) long, and about 4 km (2.5 miles) wide. Within the DMZ is a meeting point between the two nations in the small Joint Security Area (JSA) near the western end of the zone, where negotiations take place. There have been various incidents in and around the DMZ, with military and civilian casualties on both sides.

Further reading on the DMZ:

The Unification Bridge

The bridge is a gate going into the DMZ. It is more like a symbolic bridge built back in 1998, wishing unification between the two Koreas. It was built by Hyundai Business Group of South Korea. Underneath the bridge a river (Imjingang) is running down from North Korea. The bridge has a nickname of “Cow Bridge.” The founder of Hyundai, Jung Juyoung, crossed this bridge and went to North Korea back in 1998 with precisely 1,001 cows. Since then, the bridge has been calling as the cow bridge. All the cows he took were part of humanitarian donations for North Korean people.

Dorasan Station

A sign in the station reads, “Not the last station from the South, But the first station toward the North.” For now, it is the northernmost station of South Korea which is only 700m, or a half mile away from the southern boundary of DMZ. The milestones of Dorasan Station (205km to Pyeongyang, 56km to Seoul) imply the reality of the division between two Koreas and the hope of a future. Although the tracks are connected, the north regime does not allow trains to pass through, making $40 million station sit unused. However, it serves as a beacon of hope for the reunification of two Koreas. Currently, it’s the last stop, but someday it will take you to Europe through the Trans-Siberian Railway.

Dora Observatory

Dora Observatory, or OP Dora is the closest observation post to North Korea. From the observation platform, North Korean scenery is visible, and so are the outskirts of Gaeseong City, the 3rd largest city of North Korea. Especially, you can view the Gaeseong Industrial Complex operated by both Koreas. If you use the binocular, a statute of Kim Il-sung can be found near the Gaeseong City. You can also observe a fake North Korean border village. Within DMZ of North side, there’s a small village called “Propaganda Village.” On a clear day, you can view through binocular that it is actually a deserted town. Like a multi-million dollar Hollywood filming set, some lights flicker on and off at set times to create the illusion of people living there.

The DMZ Theater and Exhibition Hall

It’s a unique museum within the civilian control line. The museum, on which the nation and provinces had spent 44.5 billion Korean won, officially opened in 2009. DMZ Showroom displays leaflets used during the 6.25 Korean Civil War, military letters, bayonets, empty cartridges, pottery found in DMZ, taxidermied birds and etc. DMZ Video Room features three-dimensional moving pictures. By watching them, you can easily understand how Korea got divided.

The 3rd Infiltration Tunnel

The highlight of the DMZ tour is to explore a tunnel dug by North Korea. Since 1974, South Korean Army has discovered four tunnels crossing the DMZ. The tunnels are believed to have been planned as a military invasion or infiltration route. Each tunnel is large enough to enable the passage of thirty thousand soldiers in one hour. The 3rd tunnel discovered in 1978 penetrates into South Korea by 435 meters beyond the cease-fire line. You are going to hear how the tunnel was discovered with more detailed information. After listening to the story, you will enter into the actual tunnel to find the ambition of North Korea to make another sudden invasion. In addition, you are going to watch a short documentary film at the DMZ theater, and look around relics and reproductions of Korean War at its small exhibition hall.

After the DMZ tour, tour will cross the country to arrive at the hotel which locates in the Northeasters part of South Korea and participants will experience the beautiful landscapes and scenery of the Korea.
Itinerary Hotel → Abandoned/Closed Coal Mine areas → Mine hazard sites → Mine wastewater treatment facilities (both passive and active) → Soil remediation, reforestation and land reclamation areas → Coal mine museum etc. → Hotel
Course Description

Coal was the major energy sources for the Korean households and industries. In Korea, more than 500 coal mines before 1988 produced the high quality coals but now less than five coal mines are currently operating. Most of the coal mines were closed or abandoned according to the coal industry rationalization policy since 1988. Accordingly the mining regions have faced the serious economic problems. As an alternative measure to promote the regional economy, the casino resort, Gangwon Land, was established by benchmarking the case of the Black Hawk Casino, Colorado, USA. Enormous amounts of both solid wastes and wastewater, originated from the abandoned mines, have caused the environmental pollutions. The MIRECO, a government subsidiary agency, has been conducting various remedial projects to treat mine wastewater, remediate the polluted land and reclaim the forestry ( However, many sites have still left unmanaged causing continuously to provide the pollutants into soil and watershed. Participants can see various types of mine hazards and pollution sources in the tour areas including coal refuse, overburden, acid mine drainage (AMD), subsidence, and old mining facilities, etc. Also tour will guide participants to the soil remediation sites, reforestation sites and wastewater treatment facilities such as active and passive treatments that can be seen in the textbook related with the pollution sciences. Tour will feature all that mine soil and water: pollution and remediation.

Kangwon Land

Kangwon Land is the casino and resort complexes based in Gangwon Province. It is Korea's first ever casino to allow the admission of Koreans. It was established under the ‘Special law regarding support for the development of abandoned mine areas,’ which was passed in 1995 with the purpose of resuscitating the economy of such abandoned mine areas. In addition to casino, Kangwon Land operates hotels, convention center, condominiums, ski resort, golf courses and other entertainment facilities such as water theme park and multimedia fountain show etc. Post tour participants will accommodate in the Kangwon Land Hotel for two nights. Kangwon Land is built in the abandoned coal mine areas. This area once experienced a "coal rush" when coal was used as a major national energy source during 1970 to 1980s. This area experienced devastating economic downturns since coal was replaced by gas and oil in the 90s. The Korean government tried to introduce several alternatives to revitalize the regional economy, but the community repeatedly and vigorously requested a domestic casino, and it became authorized in December 1995. Kangwon Land has played roles in vitalizations of the local economy and promotion of social welfare in the abandoned mine regions.

Mine Hazards and Environmental Pollution

Major mine hazards in the tour areas include the acid mine drainage (AMD), tailings with metal contamination, subsidence, waste rocks, collapsing adit, brownfields, and old structural facilities etc. Examples are shown as photos.


Typical examples for the mine hazards easily seen during the tour are the Yellowboy. AMD is the outflow of the acidic water from coal mines through the abandoned portals or the coal refuse piles. When the pH of acid mine drainage is raised above 3, either through contact with fresh water or neutralizing minerals, previously soluble iron(III) ions precipitate as iron(III) hydroxide, a yellow-orange solid colloquially known as yellow boy. All these precipitates can discolor water and smother plant and animal life on the streambed, disrupting stream ecosystems. Riverbed and rocks are stained by AMD causing to devoid of fish and aquatic life.

Aluminum Whitening

The high level of Al in the AMD is oxidized and precipitated as aluminum sulfate or hydroxides when the AMD reacts with natural water or air resulting in deposit of white precipitates in the river bed. This Al whitening is very similar to the Yellowboy in chemistry but color is different due the mineral exists in the AMD. The Aluminum whitening looks like someone sprays flour or milk in the creek. In some case, participants can see the white Al gel in the creeks. This is the typical examples of the mine hazards and environmental pollution in the tour sites.

AMD Treatments

The selection of an appropriate treatment system requires an understanding of the ‘acidity’, flow rate and ‘acidity load” of the AMD that needs to be treated. AMD treatment systems can be broadly categorized as either “passive” or “active” systems, which differ according to their ability to handle acidity, flow rate and acidity load of the influent AMD. Most passive and active systems utilize aggregate carbonate to neutralize the pH and encourage precipitation of metals as hydroxides or sulfide minerals. In addition, passive treatment systems often use organic matter to provide alkalinity and create reducing conditions which favour the precipitation of metal sulfides.

Passive treatment of AMD: SAPS

Successive alkalinity-producing systems (SAPS) combine the anoxic limestone drain (ALD) technology with sulfate reduction mechanisms using the composts. A SAPS collects AMD water, stores it vertically within a containment structure, and allows the hydrostatic pressure of the stored water column to push the AMD water through layers of organic material and ALD layers ( A concentrated layer of organic material (compost) replicates the natural chemical and physical processes that occur in a compost wetland. A limestone layer beneath the compost layer provides the successive alkalinity. Metal ions, including iron, aluminum, manganese, and others can then precipitate from AMD water. One advantage of a vertical flow system over a horizontal flow system is the hydrostatic head provides a self-cleaning side effect that is metal deposits are not as likely to clog discharge lines, especially if proper design features are added. The SAPS combines with the constructed wetland for the metal removal effectiveness. Due to the high costs for the active treatment of wastewater from the abandoned coal mines, the passive technology using the SAPS-wetland is commonly practiced for the AMD treatment in the tour areas. However, the steep slope topograph limits the finding land sites to install SAPS in the mining areas.

Active treatment of AMD

Tour will visit at the Ham-tae mine active treatment facility where treatment of AMD involves routine reagent (limestone) addition and regular maintenance. These systems are used for the treatment of AMD from the closed coal mines. The system is one of the conventional active treatment plants that are fixed in location and typically require pumping of AMD to the plant, reagent addition and mixing in one or more reactor tanks, collection/disposal of treatment sludge, and discharge of treated water. Sizing of the systems is crucial to account for seasonal variation in acidity loads, ensuring AMD is treated fully prior to discharge. However, this facility is considered as small treatment plant. Although effective, active treatment systems generally incur high capital and operational costs.

Soil Remediation and Reforestation

Wide areas of soils are polluted with heavy metals and acidity originated from the acidic solid wastes and acid mine drainage from the abandoned mines. This limits the growth of vegetations including trees and accelerates environmental problems such as erosion and acidity loading into watersheds. Remediation of the contaminated soil and thus re-vegetation and reforestation poses the priority tasks in the tour areas. Most of the abandoned coal mines locate in the steep slope areas that render the remediation and reclamation works to be difficult. During tours, we will visit few places to see the reclaimed sites. Most of the soil remediation includes the neutralization process of the soil with limestones to stabilize the metals, slope stabilization less than 30° and terrace structure, dressing land with saprolite cover soils, building of the water ways using rocks and plantation of the native grasses and trees.

Itinerary Hotel → Limestone cave → Temple → Seoul → Hotel
Course Description

In Korea, major parent material is the granite and thus most of the soil has pH lower than 6. In the East and South of the abandoned coal mine areas, we can find few limestone based soils. At the first stop, we will visit one of the fabulous limestone caves formed about 530 million years ago. After the cave, tour will take you to the scenic coastal line of the East Sea where you can enjoy topography, scenery and parent materials of Korean soils. The next stop is the buddhism temple that is one of the most important and prestigious temples in Korea in term of size, location, history and scenery. Tour participants will enjoy the tranquility and natural beauty of the temple.

Hwanseongul Cave

Hwanseongul Cave is the largest limestone cave in Asia, formed estimated 530 million years ago. The cafe features fantastic rocks in various shapes, stalagmites, and stalactites. There have been 47 new breeds of animals discovered in Hwanseongul Cave, with four of these being found to only live in this cave. In April 2010, a monorail was installed within the cave to make it more convenient for people to see all the natural habitat.

Woljeongsa Temple

Woljeongsa is a head temple of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism, located on the eastern slopes of Odaesan in Pyeongchang County, Gangwon Province, Korea. This temple was founded in 643 by the Silla monk Jajang. Woljeongsa has many items of cultural heritages designated by the country such as the Octagonal Nine Story Stone Pagoda (National Treasure No. 48) and a Seated Stone Bodhisattva (Treasure No. 139). Many tourists visit the temple all year round and many of them enjoy the temple stay.

* Further information on Temple Stay in Korea:

Enjoy the post tour of the SUITMA10 Conference!