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Tapping KP marble potential

PESHAWAR: The mines and mineral department has approved establishment of crushing zones project in Khyber Pakthunkhwa (KP) to tap about 60,000 million tons (MT) marble potential of the province and avoid its waste during excavation besides curbing air pollution.

The government to ensure its successful execution, has okayed Rs5.5 million for its feasibility studies and practical work would soon start, official sources in mines and mineral department told APP on Friday. All stakeholders including environmental protection agency would be taken into confidence before starting practical work on it, he added.

Tariq Waheed, senior geologist of mines and mineral department told APP that tribal districts were rich in marble reserves with a potential of producing about 60,000 million tons (MT) marble.

He said KP including merged areas were blessed with different types of marble resources including Granite, Manganese, Chromite, Copper, Nephrite, Jadeite, Serpentinite, Garnet, Epidote, Ationolite, Tourmaline, Idocrase, Grossular, Emerald, Silca Sand, Dolmite, Quartez, Feldspare, Axinite, Sphene, Laterite, Barite, Graphite, Soaptone, Fluroite, Diamond, Limstone, coal, Iron ore, Sandstone, Black Limestone; Lead, Agate, Gold, Silver, Nickel and adaptation of modern mechanized mining would help generate substantial revenue for Pakistan.

Last year, an integrated districts development plan (IDDP) study was conducted on marble deposits in the merged districts, which disclosed presence of about 14,700 MT marble in four districts including 8,450 MT in Mohmand, 5,850 MT in Bajaur, 345 MT in Khyber and 65MT in Kurram.

Four projects were under process including Rs 109 million ‘exploration of decorative stones’ project in Mohmand, Bajaur and Khyber; Rs 149.290 million project for 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 Rs142 million and Rs198.030 million projects for strengthening Project Management Unit (PMU).

Infrastructure development of clusters of mining costing Rs 4500 million, establishment of mineral check-posts costing Rs 800 million and establishment of Mines Safety and Mechanized Mining Centres costing Rs 3500 million focusing on solarization of mines, construction of access roads, prevention of illegal mining, training of new miners, international trading would help attracting foreign investors besides creating jobs for youth.

Mohmand Marble City (MMC) is being constructed on 350 acres land and its major part was completed with about 45 industrial units starting production besides generating around 500,000 jobs for youth.

‘Marble City’ is also being constructed in Buner district where over 200 marble and allied industrial units under clusterization concept would be setup with employment generation potential of 25,000 people.

The government would spend Rs 10 million on relocation of marble units of Warsak Road to nearest industrial zones; Rs 837 on allocation of 100 acres land for Buner marble city and Rs 200 million for acquisition of Salt and Gypsum City in Karak.

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Ammar Ahmed

Karachi-based Ammar Ahmed, who studied Law, writes on a number of subjects mostly international politics and crime.