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October 22, 2019

First iron ore from Chagai put on sale

Business

October 22, 2019

KARACHI: State-owned Bolan Mining Enterprises has put the first lot of 10,000 metric tons from a Balochistan district for sale on ex-mine basis, an official said on Monday.

Bolan Mining Enterprises (BME) – a joint venture between Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL) and government of Balochistan – started mining of iron ore from its mining lease at Pachinkoh in Chagai.

Each company shares a 50 percent working interest in the joint venture. BME was formed through a joint venture agreement signed on June 1, 1974 between the two for 30 years to mine, grind and market baryte deposits in Gunga near Khuzdar and other minerals in Balochistan.

PPL was designated as operator under the agreement. The agreement was renewed in June 2004 for another 30 years, valid till 2033.

BME operates two grinding mills for barytes with the total production capacity to 70,000 - 80,000 metric tons barytes annually.

BME holds two mining licenses, valid until 2026, in the northwest of Nokkundi for mining of iron ore. However, mining activities were held up due to litigation on mining lease. Exploration activities for identifying new iron ore prospects in the litigation free area were initiated during 2017/18.

In phase-I, 640 meters exploratory drilling was done during 2017/18. In phase-II, further geophysical investigations and exploratory drilling of 1,500 meters are planned during 2018/19.

Chigendik and Pachinkoh deposits in Chagai have an estimated reserve of 2.22 and 3.23 million tons of iron ore, respectively.

BME recorded production of 261,689 tons of baryte in 2018/19 and posted highest-ever sales of 228,310 tons of baryte ore and powder were recorded in 2018/19, breaking previous record of 206,921 tons in 2017/18.

Considering the demand for commercial sales of iron ore products from Nokkundi, various studies were undertaken to set up a beneficiation plant. These two areas host about 50 million tons inferred resources.

The official said the company plans to further enhance its baryte powder sales through installation of a new grinding mill for value-added sales. Moreover, BME is working towards acquiring other mineral rights.

PPL is evaluating diversification in minerals and energy sectors and is actively pursuing mining activities in lead, zinc and iron ore, the official said.

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