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Thursday July 18, 2024

Mining and quarrying contract by 4.4 percent

By Our Correspondent
June 09, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's mining and quarrying sector saw a contraction of 4.4 percent during the period of July-March 2022/23 due to inadequate infrastructure, technological limitations, and insufficient financial resources. However, the decline was less severe compared to the 7 percent dip recorded in the previous year. The production of various minerals, including natural gas, crude oil, chromite, magnesite, gypsum, sulfur, soapstone, and iron ore, experienced significant reductions. Nevertheless, there was an increase in the production of major minerals such as coal, dolomite, barium sulfate, limestone, and rock salt.

During the ten-month period, the production of major minerals showed positive growth. Coal witnessed an increase of 17.6 percent, dolomite grew by 42.2 percent, barium sulfate saw a growth of 53.6 percent, limestone increased by 10.6 percent, rock salt by 12.4 percent, and ocher showed a growth of 15.4 percent compared to the previous year.

On the other hand, some minerals experienced negative growth. Natural gas declined by 9.3 percent, crude oil by 10.2 percent, chromite by 12.6 percent, magnesite by 50 percent, gypsum by 5 percent, sulfur by 25 percent, soapstone by 43.2 percent, and iron ore plummeted by 51.6 percent.

Pakistan possesses abundant mineral reserves, covering an outcrop area of 600,000 square kilometers due to its unique geological conditions. The country is rich in a diverse range of minerals, including coal, copper, gold, chromite, mineral salt, and others, with a total of 92 known minerals, out of which 52 are commercially exploited. The mining and quarrying sector involves the extraction of naturally occurring minerals in solid (coal and ores), liquid (petroleum), or gaseous (natural gas) form. Additionally, the sector encompasses ancillary services such as drilling, derrick erection, and supplementary activities like crushing, grinding, cleaning, drying, sorting, and concentrating ores to prepare raw materials.