Minerals Sector performance and future plans

Engineering Post Report
Mineral potentials of Pakistan are widely recognized not only within the country but internationally as well but somehow, most unfortunately, this important sector somehow has not been adequately developed as it should have been all these years for playing its due in the growth of the national economy.
Quite sadly this is evident from the bitter fact that the constribution of the minerals sector to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has persistently remained around 2.5 per cent, unchanged over the past two decades.
Although many efforts have been made and are still being made for developing geological products, institutional, academic and Research and Development (R& D) infrastructure, enough remains to be done to enable the sector to take full advantage of its endowment.
As a result of these toils, devoted for the development of mineral sector, resources of several minerals have been discovered over the last many decades including world class resources of ignite coal deposits at Thar, Sindh, porphyry copper gold in Chagai and lead -zinc deposits in Lasbela, Balochistan, gypsum , rock salt, limestone, dolomite, china clays, etc in the Indus Basin, ornamental and construction stones in various parts of the country, and about 30 different gems and precious stone deposits in northern Pakistan.
According to the information gathered from official sources concerned, there were four development projects listed in the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) of the Federal Government 2018-19.
Briefly speaking, main objective of the Acquisition of Four Drilling Rigs with Accessories for te Geological Survey of Pakistan scheme is to purchase new drilling rigs as a replacement for old drilling rigs plus acquiring modern technologies in the field of drilling. So far two new 275 HP , Hydraulic, Truck Mounted and 2000-3000 meters NQ , with accessories and spare parts of rigs and trucks have been purchased from Italy.
Project “Exploration and Evaluation of Metallic Minerals, in Uthal and Bela Areas , district Lasbela, Balochistan” aims at exploration and evaluation of metallic minerals in district Lasbela of Balochistan province. So fart induced polarization and magnetic surveys have been carried out iin different areas of district Lasbela e.g. Sukhan, Sap Dohro,Shumali etc. The results are encouraging and indicate that the project area has high potential for titanium, nickel, chromium and barium.
Under the project “Exploration of Tertiary Coal in Central Salt Range, Punjab”, geological mapping over470 square kilometer area on 1:10,000 scale and section measurements at 12 sites have been completed , according to latest information available. Similarly, drilling of 05 exploratory boreholes with a cumulative depth of 742 meters has also been completed in different regions of Salt Range and coal seams were found in all holes at various depths. Hopefully, it is expected that final technical report would be available around now.
And under “Appraisal of Newly Discovered Coal Resources of Badin Coal Field and its Adjoining Areas of Southern Sindh” scheme, 15 bore holes with a cumulative depth of 5877 meters have so far been completed in different regions of Badin and Mirpur Khas districts covering an area of 2200 square kilometers. Coal seams have been encountered in all all drill holes at various depths. Geological logging of boreholes and analysis of core samples has also been completed.
As regards already commenced financial year 2019-20, Geological Survey of Pakistan (GSP) has designed a number of annual field programmes like minerals investigations, geological mapping, geophysical exploration, exploration and evaluation of coal, geochemical exploration of precious metals and rare earth metals, exploration of iron ore, geo-environmental and ground water studies, geo-hazard assessment, and geochemical analysis during the new fiscal. An area of about 13000 square kilometers has been planned to be geologically mapped in different parts of the country.
As for the mineral policies of the federal and provincial; governments are concerned, National Mineral Policy was formulated and enforced way back in 2013. Main objectives of this Policy, for information and benefit of our worthy readers, are enhancement and sustenance of revenue flow to the federal and provincial governments, creation of an investment friendly climate to enhance international competitiveness, optimization of exploration, development and exploitation of minerals and value-addition of minerals. Various concessions like tax reduction, royalty fee, workers’ welfare fund etc have also been announced under this Policy from time to time.
In accordance with the obligations and requirements under the Constitution, provincial governments of the Punjab and Khyber Pukhtoonkhwaha have already announced their respective Mineral Policies whereas the provincial governments of Sindh and Balochistan have not yet formulated their policies.
Punjab Mineral Policy 2018 covers regulatory and institutional framework, provision of adequate incentives for retaining talent, attracting both local
and foreign investment.
As far Khyber Pukhtoonkhwakh Mineral Policy 2014 is concerned, it seeks to ensure that the mineral sector development takes advantage of initiatives and collaboration at regional, national and international levels. For effective implementation of this Policy, Provincial Assembly had also p[assed Khybere Pukhtoonkhwah Minerals Act 2017.
Ongoing projects in the Minerals Sector during financial year 2019-20 , as briefly already mentioned also, Acquisition of Four Drilling Rigs with Accessories for the Geological Survey of Pakistan, Appraisal of Newly Discovered Resources of Badin Coal Field and its adjoining areas of Southern Sindh (2013-19), Exploration and Evaluation of Metallic Minerals in Uthal and Bela Areas, district Lasbela, Balochistan and Exploration and Evaluation of Coal in Bahlol Areas, Balochistan ( 2017-19).
All these schemes are estimated to cost Rs 935.459 million with no foreign exchange component against which Rs 561.606 million have already been incurred be end June 2019 and are scheduled to be completed by the end of the ongoing financial year with entire throw forward amount of Rs 433.853 million provided in the PSDP 2019-20 for ensuring their timely completion in all respects.
Both the first two development projects were considered and approved by the Central Development Working Party (CDWP) about 10 years in November 2009 and are still under implementation in a somewhat delayed manner for varying reasons.