PESHAWAR: KP Chief Minister Mahmood Khan has directed the concerned authorities to work out modalities for declaring the mines and minerals sector as an industry in the province.
The establishment of the sector as an industry will not only help in attracting national and international investors but will also help in the value addition of the minerals found in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The decision has been taken while keeping in view enormous potentials of the mines and minerals sector in the province.
He was presiding over a meeting of the Minerals Investment Facilitation Authority (MIFA) here on Monday. Advisor to CM on Minerals Arif Ahmad Zai, Chief Secretary Dr. Shehzad Bangash, Additional Chief Secretary Shahab Ali Shah, Secretary Minerals Hamayun Khan and other high rank officials attended the meeting.
The Chief Minister, who also holds the portfolio of the Mines and Minerals Department, formally approved the granting of 24 mining leases, already approved by the Minerals Titles Committee (MTC), under Joint Ventures on net profit sharing as per the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mines and Minerals Act 2017.
The meeting was informed regarding the enhanced benefits of Joint Ventures under the act, which include greater revenue generation in lieu of fees, greater investor confidence, industrial development and more job creation due to value addition.
The Chief Minister directed to undertake steps to ensure that merit and transparency are upheld, in addition to forming a criterion in the award of leases to ensure that minerals mined in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa receive value addition within the province instead of exporting them elsewhere.
He directed the concerned authorities to work out a mechanism within the next couple of months for the establishment of specific zones aimed at refining minerals to ensure maximum revenue generation.
The Chief Minister also directed to undertake the necessary steps for certification of the minerals within the province which will not only attract investors but will also be helpful in value addition.
He further directed to complete establishment of eco-friendly crushing zones by the end of the ongoing month, adding that stern action will be taken against the illegal mining and smuggling of minerals.
The forum was briefed in detail about reform initiatives taken during the last four years of the incumbent provincial government and informed that the entire business of the department has been digitized whereas over 21,000 employment opportunities, including engineers, mine managers and 20,000 mine workers have been created so far.
It was further informed that the draft of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Minerals Policy 2022 has been prepared and mineral auction rules 2022 have also been vetted by the law department. Other major legislative reforms completed by this government include; Coal Mine Rules 2022, Rescue & Training Rules 2022, Metalleferrous Mines Rules 2022, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mines & Minerals (Amendment) Act 2019, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mines Safety, Inspection and Regulation Act 2019, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Excise Duty on Minerals (Labour Welfare) Act 2021 and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Temporary Permit Rules 2020.
Besides over 15,000 inspections have been conducted during the last four years, thousands of FIRs were lodged against illegal mining, over 1000 mines leases suspended temporarily whereas 322 mines were closed permanently due to insufficient safety measures. Similarly, up-gradation of the Mineral Testing Lab and Mining Cadastral Phase-II project are in progress.
Briefing about the initiatives taken for the welfare of labour involved in mining, it was informed that Rs. 130 million has been disbursed as scholarships amongst the children of laborers. Rs. 43 million distributed amongst permanently disabled workers whereas Rs. 22 million has been allocated for workers having occupational pulmonary diseases.
Besides, Rs. 8.7 million has been provided for workers suffering from pulmonary diseases whereas Rs. 12.50 million has been allocated for skill development programmes for laborers’ children.
It was also told in the meeting that the department has cancelled 50 idle mineral titles, including 13 cement factories in the province.