During the 20th century much attention was paid to the development and exploitation of metallic and fuel minerals throughout the world. Non-metallic mineral deposits and industrial rocks were neglected being non-glamorous and cheap. In recent years industrial minerals have become important in chemical, refractory bricks, glass, ceramic and metallurgical industries which have many advantages for developing countries like Pakistan.
Pakistan possesses a large number of industrial rocks, metallic and non-metallic minerals which have not yet been evaluated in detail for their physiochemical characteristics and industrial uses. There is an urgent need to undertake further field and laboratory studies on these deposits for accelerating the pace of development of mineral resources and minerals industry in the country.
There is a need for undertaking intensive studies on mineral deposits by using modern techniques like sinking boreholes and doing mineralogical, chemical and industrial testing of the deposits. Efforts should also be made by the government and non-government agencies for estimating reserves and determining quality and industrial uses of mineral deposits. Data should be published in local and international journals for attracting foreign investment to Pakistan's mineral sector.
Industrial and Technological Factors
Mining of metallic minerals in Pakistan is restricted to chromite and a few other minerals. Non-metallic minerals and industrial rocks are being exploited by a large number of small private companies with crude and wasteful methods which damage deposits. Such mining groups do not hire technical personnel and use cheap semi-skilled labour in carrying out mining by using poor blasting materials and primitive equipments. Beneficiation industry remains undeveloped in Pakistan. Both government and private agencies are supplying unprocessed raw material to the industry which leads to the manufacturing of low quality products. Measures should be taken to strengthen ore dressing, cutting and polishing facilities in the country.
Most of the large industrial mineral deposits of the country are located in the backward and far flung regions. These areas lack roads, energy and water supply. The transportation of raw material is often a major component of the cost. Sometimes, heavy machinery is involved in transportation which requires well constructed roads and bridges. Most of the industries must be installed at the site of mineral deposits to save the transport cost. In these industries the local people. But even if the industries are installed at the ore site, good roads area pre-requisite for taking the products to local and international markets.
If we have a good national mineral policy, there would be surplus production of minerals and their products. In between the producers and exporters there may be the middle man. Such middle men or groups should set up large store houses in the cities adjacent to the mining sites and advertise about the available raw material and mineral-based products in the national and international media.
A large number of mineral deposits are located in tribal and other politically disturbed areas of the country where working for development and exploitation of minerals is quite risky. In tribal areas adjacent to the North-West Frontier Province and in some parts of Balochistan the law of the land is not effective. The solution to this problem is that uniform mineral concession rules should be formulated and applied in all the administrative units of the country.
Mining also involves great financial risk particularly in a developing country like Pakistan where no systematic surveys are carried out to develop modern mines. There are no big investments in the mining sector in this country because the government of Pakistan does not have any schemes to provide financial and technical assistance for developing mines. …