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ARE WE MINERAL WEALTHY
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ARE WE MINERAL WEALTHY

 

Work on Mineral needs to continue

 

By ALY KHAN
Mar 24 - 30, 2003
 

 

 

 

 

YES, WE ARE, Just look at what we have, Iron ore reserves not yet tapped, except for a small trickle from Dilbandin in Balochistan which will be used by Pakistan Steel. Thanks to research carried out by Institute of Materials Sciences & Research, Pakistan Steel. Now closed. ( O' Daffodil we weep to see, you haste was away so soon). This is the fate the research institutes meet here, Heavyweight research advocates like Ex Minister of Science & Technology who knows by heart figures on research done in Japan was founder Member of the above Institute, never bothered to utter a word against the closure of such an important Institute. Where as our neighbour is trying to make Indian Institute of Technology as next to MIT here we are trying to bury whatever little we have( unwept and unhonoured and unsung).

SOME OF THE IMPORTANT MINERALS ARE:

IRON: About 30 million tons of proven and 100 million tons of probable reserves of iron ore, mainly in Nokkundi area and the Chilghazi deposits northwest of Dalbandin, is known from Balochistan. In addition to these, minor deposits of varying grades and quantities have been found to occur in Chilghazi. The potential of such ore bodies is expected to range between 100-500 million tons. Studies carried out at PCSIR and Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden have shown that the Nokkundi iron deposits are suitable for and sufficient to support small and medium sized steel mills and furnaces. The potential deposit also occur in Chiniot, Kalabagh and Pezu areas.

MANGANESE: The deposits are found mostly in Hazara, Waziristan, Lasbella, Chaghai and Zhob. Reserves are estimated to be between 0.5 - 1 million tons. The Lasbella deposits are large enough for commercial exploitation. The metal is an ingredient in the production of chemicals, ferromanganese and aluminium alloys used in the shipbuilding and aircrafts industries . Local Manganese Ores are buying utilized in Blast Furnace and sintering plants of Pakistan steel to control Managanese contents in pig Iron.

FLUORITE: Found in Chakdara and Kalat. It is mainly used in steel industry. PCSIR has developed a process to upgrade the chemical from 37% to the 98% grade, which finds use in the production of industrially important hydrofluoric acid. Fluoride is used as a flux in steel making, which also serves to regulate fluidity of molten steel in converters. The ore does not have consistent chemistry as such import continues.

 

 

MINERALS FOR FERRO ALLOYS

CHROMITE: The mineral occur in Muslimbagh, Malakand, Waziristan, Dir and Swat. Small and isolated deposits are located along the northern flank of Raskoh Range and east of Serao River in the Chaghai and Kalat districts; the Zhob valley deposits, however, are large. The ore is of metallurgical grade and a few hundred tons of chemical grade ore, mainly from a site near Muslim Bagh. The mineral has important applications such as in the production of corrosion resistance steel, refractory chrome bricks, chromium steel used in the making of projectiles and armour plates, and in leather tanning. The ore, however, is mainly exported as mined.

NICKEL: The potential deposits are indicated by geochemical studies in Malakand, Besham and Lasbella and the Sara Salawat area of Zhob. The metal needs detailed exploration as it is associated with ophiolites, which are widely distributed in Pakistan.

MINERALS FOR BASE METALS

COPPER: The Saindak deposits of copper occurs as a mineable copper ore which also has exploitable quantities of gold, silver, pyrite, magnetite and molybdenum. The ore is estimated to be 412 million tons having an in situ integral mineral worth of over US$ 9 billion with the capacity of generating annual revenue of US$ 55 million and 1300 direct and 11,000 indirect jobs. At the daily output of 12,600 tons, the Saindak mines can yield per year 18000 tons of blister copper, 100,000 tons of mild steel billets and 235,000 tons of sulphuric acid. Other bye-products from the copper processing are silver and gold, respectively in quantities of 2.8 and 1.5 tons. Other copper deposits have also been identified from Chaghai, Dir, Chitral and Swat may be larger in size and better in metal grade than of Saindak.

LEAD-ZINC: Khuzdar, Lasbella and Chaghai are known to have more than 34 deposits of lead-zinc. Though there are many lead bearing minerals, only a few of these can be commercially processed to yield lead. Duddar, Gunga and Surmai deposits with the mineable ore have a potential of 5-30 million tons.

ANTIMONY: Stibnite and Boulangerite ores of antimony occur in Chitral. Small amounts of antimony deposits are known from Qilla Abdullah and Quetta. The metallic mineral is used in the manufacture of defense related materials and marine signal lights.

PRECIOUS AND ECONOMIC MINERALS

GOLD & SILVER:

 

 

Good potential of gold and silver is indicated in Gilgit, Chitral and Chagai by the geological exploration program of Australian Mineral Foundation.

GEMSTONES: Potential of extensive deposition of good quality gemstones are found in Pakistan. The Emerald, Ruby, Saphire, Topaz, Garnet, Opal are exported as raw and cut stones by Pakistan. Industrial minerals of corundum, quartz, abrasive almandine, olivine, etc. are used in advanced engineering products.

TIN AND TUNGSTEN: Mineralization of tin and tungsten has been reported from North Chitral and in the quartz porphyry stocks in a zone 3 km north of Saindak copper prospects in a deposit site 2 km long and 400-500 meter wide.

MINERALS FOR CERAMICS INDUSTRIES

BAUXITE AND LATERITE: Larger deposits of the ore are known from Ziarat, Loralai and Sibi, whereas smaller deposits have been noted near Muslim Bagh, Zhob and Lasbella, which collectively are around 15 million tons. Laterite is an ore of aluminium, iron, nickel, titanium, silica and manganese. Due to the high concentration of alumina, titania and iron oxide, the Ziarat ore is of higher economic worth. Titanium oxide is a valuable input in paint industry. Mineralogy, chemistry, utilization of the ore dealing mainly with soda leaching and soda sintering, and feasibility of reduction of roasting followed by leaching and chlorination for the economic separation of alumina, titania and iron oxide have been investigated by PCSIR. Bauxite minerals are reported from AK and Kala Chitta area.

RARE EARTHS: Silai Patti area in Malakand is reported to contain anomalous quantities of rare earth metals.

CONCLUSION

Work on Mineral needs to continue,. There is need to carry out research and revive Institutes Like Institute of Materials Sciences & Research. PCSIR to take energetic steps in carrying out pilot studies. It's a long journey which will eventually make us rich. KEEP ON WALKING