Minerals Development in Balochistan

Engineering Post Report

Balochistan is the largest province, area-wise, of the country constituting  43 per cent of the total national landmass. The country  in general and the province in particular  is endowed by the nature with substantial  mineral wealth.

Mineral industry can play an important role in boosting up the socio-economic set up  in Balochistan   as agriculture  in other parts of the country . But somehow due  attention could not be  given  to the exploration and  development of the mineral sector  due to financial constraints, heavy risk  investment  and  lack of infrastructure as the  deposits are located in remote and far flung areas of the province.

However, efforts are being made  for scientific  exploration  and exploitation  of the mineral resources. The government has given prompt  attention towards the development of  minerals. Various national and multi-national  companies are involved  in exploration of  gold, copper, precious metals and associated minerals  in Chagai  and other districts . Besides, the province also has large deposits  of limestone, gypsum and coal  (raw material for cement manufacturing) and investment opportunities for installation  of cement factories are available in the province.

Major initiatives taken in the past few months regarding minerals development in the province are listed briefly below:

Balochistan  Mineral Exploration  Company Limited and Balochistan  Minerals  Resource  Company Limited  have since been established  as a joint venture  of the federal and provincial  governments with 10 per cent and 90 per cent  shares respectively. Main objective behind this major initiative, jointly by the federal and provincial  governments, is to attract private investment  and boosting  the government revenue  via large scale mining in the province.

PC-1 for the establishment of a full-fledged  university in the field  of minerals and  natural resources, has also been approved which would be a milestone  in the field of minerals. This will be, perhaps, the first university of its kind in the country. Furthermore,  Geological Survey of Pakistan (GSP)  has also been tasked with  mapping  50 top sheets of outcrop area in order to identify  minerals potential in Balochistan  for which adequate  funds have already been allocated  under the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) of the Federal Government. This initiative will help to maintain a database  for future exploration of   the occurrences of metallic and non-metallic   minerals  potential, dimension stones, aggregates and limestone  reserves in the province.