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Treasures of the Deep - Mineral Deposits of Pakistan

Imran Ahmad
 


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Pakistan is endowed with extensive geological potential. The country possesses extensive reserves of mineral deposits such as coal copper, gold, limestone etc. However, unlike other developing countries with good mineral endowment, we have not yet been able to promote growth and alleviate poverty by exploiting our natural resources to the maximum extent possible. The development of our mineral resources has been limited to numerous quarries producing industrial minerals of limestone, rock salt, marble, gypsum and a modest amount of coal for internal power generation. Our mineral resources are enormous and emerging as a promising country for exploration of mineral deposits. Based on available information, country's more than 6, 00, 000 sqkms of outcrop area demonstrates varied geological potential for metallic / non-metallic mineral deposits.

Exploration by government agencies as well as by multinational mining companies and various regional geological surveys, conducted in the recent past have confirmed the great potential of Pakistan in the metallic minerals like copper, gold, silver, platinum, chromites, iron, lead and zinc. Regarding industrial minerals, there is a vast potential of multi- coloured granite, marble and other dimensional stones of high quality for export purposes. Currently about 52 minerals are under exploitation but on a small scale. The major production is of coal, rock salt, and other industrial and construction minerals. At this time, the value addition in the mineral sector is mainly concentrated in five principal minerals, namely, limestone, coal, gypsum, sulphur, crude oil, and natural gas. The current contribution of mineral sector to the GDP is about 0.5% and likely to increase considerably on the development and commercial exploitation of Reco Diq copper deposits, Duddar Zinc lead, Thar coal and Gemstone deposits.

The country's mining industry is dominated by the public sector through Federal and Provincial development corporations. The public mining corporations are: Punjmin involved in the mining of 8 minerals (with a mine output of less than 300,000 tones for each of seven mines and 1,215,634 tones for building material), Pakistan Mineral Development Corporation in 11 minerals, Federally Administrated Tribal Areas Development Corporation in 10 minerals (with an annual high single mine output of 319,000 tones for limestone), Balochistan Development Authority in fluorite, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Development Authority in 4 minerals and Azad Kashmir Mineral and Industrial Development Corporation in 12 minerals With 4,873 and Pakistan Steel in mining limestone (204,921 tones). Foreign investors are mainly from China due to their historic political ties with Pakistan. Consequently there has been little or no modern exploration, and what development has occurred has been restricted to simple technologies, without the benefit of the private sector and foreign investors with modern management, capital and technical knowhow. Consequently mineral exploitation contributes only 0.5% of GDP. Realizing the vast potential of major reserves, there is great opportunity for the multinational companies to invest in this sector, which will be beneficial for the economy and the investors in the long run.

Top Fifteen Minerals of Pakistan
1. Aluminium 2. Iron Ore 3. Copper 4. Chromite Ore 5. Zinc / Lead 6. Coal 7. Gypsum / Anhydrite 8. Phosphates 9. Rock Salt 10. Solar Salt 11. Magnesite 12. Limestone for lime 13. Kaolin (China Clay) 14. Natural Stones as Building Materials I). Granite ii). Marble and Onyx 15. Gemstones

Mineral Resources in Punjab Iron ore:
Iron ores is present in large deposits in punjab. The major deposits are in Kalabagh Mianwali district.

Coal:
In Punjab coal is present in Salt Range and Markawal. The estimated deposits of coal in this region are 235 million tons. The quality is average in comparison with other provinces.

Gypsum:
Punjab stands 2nd in gypsum deposits. The major deposits of Gypsum are in Dadukhel in Mianwali area which is about 53 million tons. Other resources are in Rakhi-Munh, Khewra and Safed koh-Rodo area. Gypsum is also found in Suleman Range of D. G. Khan, Punjab.

Salt:
Salt deposits are mainly found in the salt Range (160 kms in length, east and west trending mountainous arc between Rivers Jhelum and Indus). Rock salt is mined at Khewra, Warcha, Kalabagh, Bhadurkhel, Jatta and karak salt Mines by Pakistan Mineral Development Corporation. Punjab Mineral Development Corporation operates Chakwal and Khushab salt mines. According to Pakistan Mineral Development Corporation, the rock salt reserves within the area of their mining operation are around 600 million tons.

Lime stone:
Lime Stone is present in salt Range Potwar Plateau, Margalla Hills and Zinda Pir (Attock) in large deposits.

Aluminum:
In Punjab Aluminium is found in Khushab district. It is graded as low quality Aluminium.

Calestine:
It contains about 83% Strontium Sulphate. Celestite is used in signal rockets and flares, tracer bullets, transportation warning fused and fire-works. It also used in Strontium compound Ceramics, luminous paints, plastics industries. In Punjab It is found in Daud Khel in the Western Salt Range.

Natural oil:
All large and renowned oil fields are loccated in potwar region. In following table a brief description of Oil fields is given. Natural gas: The only major gas resource is located in Uch near Multan. Another gas field is Adhi gas field located in Rawalpindi district, supplies 18Mcf/day of gas ,62 tons/day of LPG,300 Barrels/day of Natural gas liquid(NGL).

Marble:
It is one of the country foreign exchange earning. In Punjab its reserves are in Dalbandin Hills in Attock District.

MINERAL DEPOSITS OF SINDH

Coal:
According to estimates prepared by the Geological Survey of Pakistan (GSP), Pakistan has total coal reserves of 185 billion tons, out of which 184 Million Tons Billion tons are in Sindh, one of the biggest good quality lignite deposit in the World.

Salt:
Bright prospects exist for the development of high purity solar salt facility around the coastal areas of Karachi. Solar salt so produced has export potential to the growing southeast Asian Chemical industries and for the growing industries established throughout the country.

Limestone: Pakistan is bestowed with extensive deposits of suitable quality limestone in Sindh. In sindh it is found in Ganjo Takkar, Murli Hills, Mango Pir, Cape Monze, Kot Diji and Ranipir. It is used mainly in the manufacture of cement. Road making, building construction and in the chemicals industries.

Alum:
In Sindh Alum is found in Kirthar Nits.

Carbonate Soda:
Present in large quantity in Nara Taluka of Khaipur State, in Nawabshah, Umerkot and Shah Bandar.

Calestine:
The estimated reserves are 300,000 tons. Celestite is used in signal rockets and flares, tracer bullets, transportation warning fused and fire-works. It is also used in Strontium compound Ceramics, luminous paints, plastics industries. In Sindh, Calestine deposits are found in Thano BulaKhan.

China Clay:
In Sind it is found in Nagar Parkar, in Tharparkar District. Is used in cement, paper, rubber filter. It contains 16-31% Clay. It is also known as Kaolin.

Natural Oil:
There are three renowned oil fields in Sindh which are briefly described in tabular form below.

Natural Gas: In Sindh Natural Gas is found in Khairpur, Kandkot , Mari, Golarchi and Khaskheli.

MINERAL DEPOSITS OF KHYBER PAKHTUNKHWA:

Chromite:
Chromite deposits of Baluchistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa must be considered from a regional standpoint that could enable Pakistan to become a major exporter of chromite and /or ferrochrome. In NWFP its deposits are 1) In Dargai there are an estimated reserves 0.7 Mt of which 0.3 Mts are proven. 2) In Heroshah, open pit reserves of around 0.1 Mt have been proved. 3) Similary in Jijal-pattan and Chilas areas (Kohistan) Shunghail prospect appear to contain 0.2 Mt reserves.

Coal: In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa there is no large deposit of coal. Two small ones are present which are briefly described in tabular form. This coal is graded as good quality coal found in Pakistan.
Bauxite: In the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Bauxite is found in Hazara District.

Gypsum:
The largest resources of gypsum found in Pakistan are in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The reserves are mainly found in D. I. Khan & Kohat district .

Phosphates:
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa contains Cambrian sedimentary phosphates of marine origin, mainly in the upper clayey dolomite of abbottoabad Formation (cherty phosphate) 0-0 and underlying cherty – silty – sandy beds of Hazara formation.

Reserves and Grades:
Grades of two major ore types and their reserves are as under:

  • Dolomitic ore (generally low to medium in P2 O5 & SiO2 and high in MgO).
  • Siliceous ore (generally medium to high in P2O5 and SiO2 and low in MgO.

Types of Phosphate rocks And Their Reserves:

Magnesite :

PIDC used to hold the lease for magnesite mines at Kumhar in Abbottabad established around 11 million tons geological & 3 million tons mineable reserves containing acce- ptable 46% - 47% magnesium oxide.

Limestone:
Pakistan is bestowed with extensive deposits of suitable quality of limestone in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Northern Areas. The average annual production of limestone is 8697 Metric tons used mainly in the manufacture of cement. Road making, building construction and in the chemicals industries.

China Clay:
Presently the major production comes from shah Dheri, Swat where an elutriation plant has been established. Country's average yearly production of china clay is 61,403 metric tons.

Marbles:
Marbles of different classifications, fossiliferrous limestone, serpentine etc occur in the provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and in Northern Areas. Out of 160.2 million tons of marble reserves estimated in Pakistan,158 million tons are in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Gem Stones:
Pakistan ranks amongst leading gem-hosting countries. Owing to favorable geological environments, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, AJ&K and Northern Areas are the major gem hosting regions of the country. The gemstones include; Emerald, Ruby, Pink Topaz, Peridot, Green Ruby deposits of Hunza and AJ&K all other gemstone deposits have not been studied scientifically and are undocumented.

Soap Stone:

Soapstone is used in Ceramics, face powder and as filler in soap industry. In NWFP, its deposits are in Sherwan in Abbotabad district.

MINERAL RESOURCES IN BALOCHISTAN:

At present Pakistan is producing 50 minerals; of these about 40 are being exploited in Baluchistan. Almost all the minerals now being mined in the province have been explored / discove- red by the Geological Survey of Pakistan.

Aluminum:
Aluminum is present in Baluchistan in large deposits. Major areas are Kalat, Ziarat and Loralai districts. The mine at Khakhan-China spring in Loralai district produces 2000 tons annually.

Iron Ore:
More than 903.4 million tons of iron ores are found in Pakistan and potential ore deposits in Baluchistan are the following:

Copper:
The significance of copper resources of Pakistan is widely known because of huge investment made in development of Saindak copper deposit. Copper reserves are present in Saindak and Reko-diq in Baluchistan.

Chromite Ore:
Chromite occurrence is wide- spread yet its potential is far from being fully assessed judging from the favorable geological environment. For this reason, chromite deposits of Baluchistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa must be considered from a regional standpoint that could enable Pakistan to become a major exporter of chromite and /or ferrochrome. In Baluchistan, Muslim Bagh, Noshki, Ras-koh, Dilbadin, Miran shahWana, Khuzdar, Bela, chromite deposits are of the major commercial source of chromite.

Zinc:
The Jurassic rocks of the Lasbela – Khuzdar Belt have the potential to host several World class’ zinc – lead ore deposits. Zinc deposits are also found in Duddar Gunga which are estimated over 160 million tons.

Coal:
In Baluchistan about 217 million tons of coal are estimated. Thèse Resources are distributed in Hamai, , Duki , Mach-Abegum Pir Ismail Ziarat Bar khan – Chamalang.

Natural Gas:
Total Natural gas reserves in Pakistan are estimated at about 31 trillion cubic feet. In the Province of Baluchistan, thereserves are in Pirkok, Sui, Mazarani, Golarchi. Sui gas field is the largest field of Pakistan, which covers over 75 sq. miles.

Manganese:
In Baluchistan Manganese is found in Lasbela and Khuzdar. Total estimated resources in these two regions are 0.477 million tons.

Limestone for Lime:
Pakistan is bestowed with extensive deposits of suitable quality of limestone in the province of Balochistan. The average annual production of limestone is 8697 Metric tons, used mainly in the manufacturing of cement, Road making, building construction and in the chemicals industries. It is graded as high quality limestone found in Pakistan.

Magnesite:
In Baluchistan it is found in Muslim bagh and Bela.

Gypsum:
According to geological servey of Pakistan, about 2000 million ton gypsum resources are present in different areas of Baluchistan.

Marble:
Large deposits of marble are present in Baluchistan, About 2 million ton high quality Marble is present in Chagai district.

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