KP Govt Starts Mapping Of Mineral Deposits, Plans Study Of Lithium Metal In Chitral

KP govt starts mapping of mineral deposits, plans study of lithium metal in Chitral

PESHAWAR, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 19th Mar, 2023 ) :The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Government has started geographical mapping of potential unexplored mines and mineral deposits in different districts of the province including merged areas besides planning of exploration study of lithium metal in Chitral.

'We have started mapping of the potential mines and mineral sites in Khyber Pakthunkhwa with assistance of Geological Survey of Pakistan (GSP). The mapping of 5,000 square kilometers areas in KP including Chitral and 600 sq km areas in Orakzai and Kurram districts were completed.

On the basis of GSP's survey, the exploration of minerals would be started on scientific lines," Jalal Khan, Senior Planning Officer (SPO), Mines and Mineral Department Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa told APP on Sunday.

The project would be completed with an estimated cost of Rs397 million. Besides establishment of a gemstone laboratory and technical training and certification Center in the province, he said the government was strengthening KP's mineral testing laboratories for which modern equipment and machinery would be exported with an estimated cost of Rs93 million to save the precious marble and gemstones wealth.

He said a mineral complex would be established at Hayatabad industrial estate Peshawar where one window facilities and consultancy services would be provided to investors.

He said land would be purchased for the establishment of offices of the department in mineral rich Chitral, Dir,l Manshera, DI Khan and Swabi, adding 350 cases were registered against illegal miners.

Jalal Khan said that till to date, 3000 online lease applications on the portal were received from interested parties. "We charged Rs60,000 per lease from the contract awarding party who was providing up to 600 acres of land for excavation," he said, adding the project cost about Rs156 million.

About future projects, Jalal Khan said that exploration study of lithium metal in Chitral besides other metallic minerals would be conducted and studies in this regard were also started.

According to KP board of Investment and Trade (KP-BIT), Khyber Pakthunkhwa has an estimated potential of 14 trillion ton a year of marble, limestone, dolomite, soapstone, silica and other mineral resources, 70 million carets gemstones, 1.10 billion bbls of oil reserves, 7.5 million tons a year production of maize, wheat, sugarcane and tobacco. The estimated potential of 16 trillion cubic feet natural gas reserves, US 32 billion per year gemstones and 30,000MW hydropower electricity of KP if properly taped could turnaround the country's economy.

According to Economic Survey of Pakistan, Pakistan had produced 8,813,025metric tons (MT) marble in 2017-18, 7,990,473MT in 2018-19, 7,700,855MT 2019-20 and 478,100 MT in 2021-22 (March-July) while the country marble exports was recorded as $31,030 in 2016, $28,166 in 2017, $26,403 in 2018, $25,377 in 2019, $17,204 in 2020 and $24,679 in 2021. The annual exports of gemstones of Pakistan remained per year about USD 3.7 billion.

Hayatur Rehman, Director Mines and Mineral Department KP told APP that an exploration of emerald gemstones' lease of Rs510 million for Swat has been granted besides another mine lease for Shangla.

He said that Rs7billion revenue was collected last year from the mines and mineral sector and this revenue could be increased by Rs20 billion per year if modern technology were used in marble, granite and gemstones excavation.

The government has introduced Mining Cadastre Portal to bring investors one step closer to the mineral resources of the province, he said adding the portal provides an e-government platform for all stakeholders to engage directly with the department and ensure international standards of transparency and improving the ease of doing business.

The projects including 'exploration of decorative stones' in Mohmand, Bajaur and Khyber, exploration of metallic minerals including gold, silver, manganese, iron and chromite, development of rare metallic mines, coal, marbles, platinum, silver and gold reservoirs in Orakzai and strengthening of Project Management Unit (PMU) were completed besides infrastructure development of clusters of mining, establishment of mineral check-posts and establishment of Mines Safety and Mechanized Mining Centres.

Mohmand Marble City was being constructed on 350 acres of land. A similar marble city is also being constructed in Buner district to facilitate 200 marble and allied industrial units besides creating jobs at local level.

Over 28 units have already started production in Marble City Risalpur while 20 and 70 percent portions of Rashakai and Nowshera SEZ respectively were earmarked for marble and mines industrial units.

Work on Jalozai and Rashakai economic zones were accelerated to bolster marble exports. Besides relocation of marble units of Warsak Road to the nearest industrial zones to counter air pollution, Salt and Gypsum City would be established in Karak to promote gemstones in the province.