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PCJCCI calls for JVs with China

By Our Correspondent
November 25, 2020

LAHORE: Pakistan-China Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCJCCI) President SM Naveed on Tuesday said the marble and granite industry of Pakistan could be transformed into a cutting-edge stone industry by adopting Chinese quarrying techniques.

The export quantum of marble and granite would be increased manifolds by establishing marble industrial parks in collaboration with China under CPEC to effectively utilise the valuable marble reserves of the country. “Industrial parks will bring the cost effective cutting, blasting and finishing technology in Pakistan that will enhance the competitive edge of the industry,” he added.

All provinces of Pakistan have huge deposits of ornamental stones while Baluchistan has rich deposits of marble and granite in Khuzdar, Loralai, Lasbela and Chaghi districts, whereas in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa – Malakand, Mardan, Hazara, Peshawar and Kohat – were the high-potential areas where quarrying and mining was already taking place.

PCJCCI president identified the lack of quality production, inconsistent supply of raw material and scarcity of modern technology as major factors hindering the growth of marble industry in the country, which needed immediate attention.

He suggested strengthening Pakistan Stone Development Company (PASDEC) to fill the missing chains in marble industry. He further added that, extraction in Pakistan mainly comprises boring of holes in the bedrock, filled with explosives to blast the block, resulting not only in high wastage, but also in smaller sized stones, substantially reducing the price.

Naveed said that standard quarry wastage in the world was taken at 50 percent of the gross produce; however, in Pakistan, this reaches up to 73 percent. “Wastage can be avoided by using latest wire-cutting technique and equipment; thus, bright prospects of setting up joint ventures in the marble sector exist in Pakistan,” he added.

The global market for marble and granite is estimated at around $62 billion, but Pakistan’s share is below one percent, which should be a cause of concern for the policymakers. With government support, marble industry has the potential to become the backbone of the economy.