Reko Diq Copper and Gold Mining: Issues & Recommendations


1.1 Mines & Mineral Potential of Pakistan

1.1.1 An Overview:

Pakistan is gifted with a wide range of geological potential. The country possesses broad assets 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 encourage growth and alleviate poverty by exploiting our natural resources to the maximum degree possible. The development of our mineral resources has been limited to many 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 RecoDiq 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.

1.1.2 Chief Minerals of Pakistan

Following are the chief minerals found in Pakistan;

1. Aluminum 9. Rock Salt
2. Iron Ore 10. Solar Salt
3. Copper 11. Magnesite
4. Chromite Ore 12. Limestone for lime
5. Zinc / Lead 13. Kaolin (China Clay)
6. Coal 14. Gemstones
7. Gypsum / Anhydrite 15. Natural stones granite & marble
8. Phosphates