Pakistan: Mineral development bank proposed to boost marble mining

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Pakistan China Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCJCCI) has proposed to set up a “Mineral Development Bank” to help tap the potential of marble and granite sector exploration optimally, a statement said on Friday.

A proposal to this effect came to fore during a think tank session chaired by President PCJCCI Zarak Khan, organsied to review ways and means to resolve

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the issues confronting the marble industry.

Khan said currently Pakistan was the 6th largest extractor of marble and granite and had a place on world mining map.

“Pakistan has enormous potential to promote exports of marble products as it possesses huge marble and granite reserves of around 400 million tons and 65 varieties of marble and granite stones,” the PCJCCI president said.

“Currently global market for marble and granite is estimated at around US $62 billion, but Pakistan’s share is below one percent which should be a cause of concern for the policymakers.”

He said there was need to change the conventional method of blasting with the modern and latest machinery on rental basis for extracting marble.

“The standard wastage in the world is 45 percent for the marble sector but in Pakistan 85 percent marble is destroyed due to the blasting technique.”

Khan said with the use of technology and innovation Pakistan could even utilise the marble powder for building blocks.

Zarak Khan said that China was a major importer of marble from Pakistan with a share of almost 85 percent. “China is enthusiastically interested in local marbles and establishing joint ventures with Pakistan’s marble exporters but has been demoralised due to some security reasons and deteriorating law and order situation,” he said.

He said marble industry had the potential to become the backbone of the economy and promote more exports than the share of textile products in case the government extended required support.

He urged the government to address the marble industry issues on priority basis, whose exports could well go up to over US 200 million dollars per year.

He suggested the government to open a mineral development bank for the marble and stone sector.

“The high electricity cost, use of obsolete mining techniques, lack of financing facility, and processing units, law and order issues in major mining areas, inconsistent power supply, insufficient infrastructure from mines to ports, lack of value addition, improper transportation facilities and supply chain problems are the major hurdles holding back this industry from full growth potential,” PCJCCI chief said.