Go to contents

Jeju`s salty groundwater turns out to be a treasure

Posted July. 30, 2013 05:49,   


“It’s amazing that such a precious treasure was buried in the ground where I used to walk.”

A 62-year-old resident of Handong-ri, Gujwa-eup on Jeju Island, was surprised to see the support center for lava seawater in the Jeju Technopark of the Lava Seawater Industrial Complex in her neighborhood. She said, “I had trouble in farming because of salty water unlike other neighborhoods with fresh groundwater. After learning that the salty water is useful in many ways, I feel like I’ve found a treasure.”

Lava seawater, which has been buried in the underground of Jeju Island for 300,000 to 400,000 years, finally began to attract attention. It is stored in the layers of basalt after being pushed to the underground of the island due to the osmotic pressure. It tastes like seawater but is rich in ingredients useful to human bodies. The support center for commercialization of Jeju lava seawater takes the initiative in the business which uses the seawater for industrial purposes.

○ Jeju lava water used as industrial resources

The center has reverse osmosis equipment and an electro-dialysis device, which can produce the lava water, extracted from the 130 meters below the ground into drinkable water and functional beverages. It also has a water tank for hydroponic vegetables and farming marine organisms. It supplies lava water and provides quality control to companies to be built on the Lava Seawater Industrial Complex on the 195,000 square-meter land.

The lava seawater is similar to other seawater or deep ocean water in sodium and magnesium, but is relatively rich in rare minerals useful to human bodies such as vanadium (0.015 ppm), selenium (0.013 ppm), zinc (0.019 ppm) and iron (0.015 ppm). Another advantage is that it is naturally filtered through rock layers and is “clean underground water resource.”

○ Abundant uses

Jeju lava water is estimated to be around 2.7 billion tons. It is an amount that can be used over 7,500 years assuming that 1,000 tons are produced per day. It is unlimited resources because it does not run out. If it is extracted, seawater refills.

There are various uses of the lava water. It can be bottled water, used as an ingredient for tofu or yogurts, and developed as functional beverages. It can also be used as a resource for cosmetics which need clean water and useful for growing crops. The sodium that is left after the lava seawater is purified can be commercialized as natural salt.

Companies that want to build a plant in the industrial complex are rushing for investment based on the promising prospect. Five companies producing beverages, food, salt, and cosmetics will get land and roll out a prototype using the lava seawater next year. Their products will have a “Baranul” brand, which certifies the lava water. It is a combination of old words “Bara (sea)” and “Nul (land).” Kim Byeong-ho, head of the Lava Seawater Industry of Technopark, said, “It was certified by prestigious water quality certification agencies in Japan and the U.S. in both safety and cleanness. Lava seawater is competitive in that the resource can be sustainably used without worrying about depletion.”