- More than 500m tonnes of shipment-grade iron ore discovered in Chiniot-Rajoa along with copper and gold deposits
- PM greets nation on discovery of high quality metal deposits, says it will bring prosperity, new employment opportunities in region
Addressing a briefing in Chiniot, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif Wednesday greeted the nation on the Punjab government’s discovery of multi-billion dollars worth of gold, iron and copper ores at Rajoa, around three kilometres south of Chiniot.
Through the technical services of Chinese, German, Swiss and Canadian mining experts, the Punjab government secured 500 million tonnes of shipment grade iron ore in Chiniot-Rajoa while initial results of the scientific geological studies have also shown substantial copper reserves.
Attended by Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid, Provincial Minister for Minerals Sher Ali, parliamentarians, representatives of Metallurgical Corporation of China (MCC) and German consultants, a detailed briefing by Punjab Mineral Company Chairman Dr Samar Mubarakmand was organised.
Dr Mubarakmand said that copper deposits were discovered along with gold and suggested that the area of research be expanded and divided among different companies for excavation and production.
It was suggested that there should be more focus on excavating copper as it has a much higher value in the international market as copper fetches 5,000 dollars a tonne against 100 dollars a tonne for iron.
The prime minister was informed that with the MCC’s assistance, a feasibility study had been completed in around nine months, whereas it was to be completed in 18 months. He was informed that studies were being conducted currently in 28 square kilometres of area, and initial findings showed that there was high probability of presence of good quality deposits in around 2,000 sq kms, particularly in south and south eastern parts of Chiniot city.
The premier was shown through graphs and 3D models the details of the deposits and informed that there was also probability of finding copper and gold deposits in the area.
The prime minister was informed that the quality of iron ore deposits was similar to the ones in Brazil, Russia and India, and had been estimated in thousands of tonnes. Samples had been tested from top laboratories of Canada and Switzerland, which confirmed the high quality of deposits, the briefing added.
On the joyous occasion, the prime minister said that the discovery of high quality metal ores will not only bring prosperity in the country but also create new employment opportunities. He expressed hope that it would go a long way in bringing prosperity to the country.
During the briefing, PM Sharif showed keen interest and asked a number of questions about the type and quality of the deposits. He said he was personally there to share the joy of the moment and to share it with the entire nation.
The premier lauded the expertise and hard work of the Pakistani metallurgical experts and scientists. He also lauded the German consultant firm GEOS for supervising the work.
“It is Allah’s blessings that under the lush green fields, rich deposits of copper, iron and gold have been found, which will help the country to get rid of the ‘begging bowl’ for good.” He said Pakistan was rich in natural resources and deposits of copper, gold, coal were available in other provinces as well, which would also be explored.
He said the raw material available in the area was also attractive for investment and invited foreign and local investors to come and set up steel industry in Chiniot. He hoped that it would provide jobs to around 100,000 people and bring about economic prosperity in the area. Necessary infrastructure would be built well in advance in Chiniot for provision of better facilities, he added.
Sharif said that ruling Pakistan was not a “bed of roses”; it was a big challenge, and his government was bracing all the issues with courage, zeal, dedication and commitment to bring about a positive change in the country. He said it was time that the entire government machinery works with sincerity to serve the masses.
He said major challenges for him were security, bringing peace to the country and ending shortage of electricity and natural gas. He said had the government have enough funds, it would have worked on projects to provide 10,000 MW of electricity without any delay. However, lack of funds was hampering government’s efforts. He added there was a need to have transparency at all levels of governance.
Sharif said that talks with Iran for the acquisition of natural gas had reached advanced stage while negotiations were also underway on the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project.
The past governments, he regretted, caused unnecessary delay in discovering the mineral deposits. He however praised the present government of Punjab, headed by Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif for expediting the work.
The prime minister said he wished to address a huge gathering of Chiniot residents, but the plan was curtailed owing to security reasons.