Lahore-Pakistan: Industrial parks and Chinese know-how will boost the marble industry

Pakistan-China Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCJCCI) President SM Naveed said that export quantum of marble and granite could be increased manifolds by establishing marble industrial parks in collaboration with China under CPEC to effectively utilize the valuable marble reserves of the country.

He expressed these views here in a Think-Tank session that was also attended by Daud Ahmed, Senior Vice President, Khalid Raffique Chaudhry, Vice President, Salahuddin Ahmed Hanif, Secretary General and a number of the executive committee members of PCJCCI.

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SM Naveed said that industrial parks established as per Chinese model would bring the cost effective cutting, blasting and finishing technology in Pakistan that will enhance the competitive edge of the industry. He was confident that marble and granite industry of Pakistan can be transformed into a cutting-edge stone industry by adopting Chinese quarrying techniques. President PCJCCI also suggested revival of Pakistan stone Development Company (PASDEC) to fill the missing chains in marble industry. He added that the 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 stone, substantially reducing the price.

SVP Daud Ahmed said that all provinces have huge deposits of ornamental stones, adding that 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 are the high-potential areas where quarrying and mining was already taking place. Identifying major factors hindering the growth of marble industry in the country, he said, the lack of quality production, inconsistent supply of raw material and scarcity of the modern technology were the factors, which needed immediate government’s attention.

While the VP Khalid Raffique Choudhry said that standard quarry wastage in the world is taken at 50 per cent of the gross produce; however, in Pakistan, this reaches up to 73  per cent. 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. Salahuddin Hanif said global market for marble and granite is estimated at around $62 billion, but Pakistan’s share is below one  per cent, which is a cause of concern for the policymakers. With the government support, marble industry has the potential to become the backbone of the economy. He urged the government to make efforts for promoting exports and to redress the issues being face by the marble industry.