By Peer Muhammad
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has an estimated 297 billion tons of marble and granite reserves in all the four provinces, FATA, and Gilgit-Baltistan, which could help the country’s economy in many ways if tapped properly, said Pakistan Stones Development Company (PASDEC) in a presentation to the Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Minister (CM) on Friday.
“Over 170 types of stones have been explored so far and a large number of precious stones are to be further explored,” the company administration informed the CM, adding that if investment is made in the sector, then the country would soon be on its way to prosperity.
G-B Chief Minister Hafizur Rehman invited the company to expand its development projects, where a significant potential of precious stones exists. He also assured full cooperation of his government in promoting the industry in the province.
According to a copy of the presentation, over 2,000 processing units are operational in the country and more than 1200 quarries are operational. Besides, the industry has provided jobs to around 200,000 individuals.
The current contribution of the industry through export of marble and granite amounts to $134 million.
Pakistan’s annual quarry production is 3.82 million tons. According to a province-wise break up; K-P’s production is 1.7 million tons, Balochistan 1.4 million tons, FATA 0.5 million tons, Sindh 0.17 million tons and Punjab 0.0525 million tons.
“To promote, develop and up-grade the dimensional stone sector of Pakistan and to strengthen and support the technical capabilities of dimensional stone mining, pragmatic steps need to be taken,” said the presentation
However, it noted that to enhance competitiveness of the sector as a whole, PASDEC has undertaken a number of projects including establishment of model quarries, up-gradation of quarries, development of marble cities and established machinery pools.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 21st, 2016.