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EXPLORATION OF MINERALS CAN ENSURE A BRIGHT FUTURE FOR THE COMING GENERATIONS.

Byline: KANWAL SALEEM

While Pakistan is rich in mineral wealth this hidden potential can be explored through channelizing resources in the right direction. The country's mineral wealth can be utilized for strengthening of national economy and achieving the goal of progress and prosperity. Exploration of mineral can ensure a bright future for the coming generations and these resources are having the same importance for Pakistan as the oil and gas sector has.

Different organizations are working to explore mineral wealth. In Punjab province Punjab Mineral Development Corporation (Punjmin) is the premier public sector mining corporation which produces and markets minerals found in the province of Punjab. Its basic functions are demarcation of schemes for development surveying prospecting exploring mining and industrial exploration of minerals production and sale of minerals including import and export.

A spokesman of Punjmin said exploration of mineral resources in Chiniot-Rajwa reign is of vital importance and this project is of revolutionary significance for the economy of the country especially Punjab. The present government is making all out efforts for utilizing natural resources.

According to him there are vast resources of iron ore at Chiniot-Rajwa and the progress on this project so far is highly satisfactory. Samples of iron ore reserves at Chiniot-Rajwa had been sent to international laboratories which certified presence of up to 65 percent high quality iron ore in the samples which is good news for the whole nation. There is a possibility of discovery of copper and other precious minerals along with iron ore and initial results are very encouraging. The project of exploration of mineral resources at Chiniot-Rajwa is of key importance for Pakistan especially Punjab and this natural wealth will prove to be a guarantee of national progress and prosperity.

RICH AVAILABILITY OF BUILDING STONE

Highlighting mineral potential in Punjab sources reveal that in the province igneous rocks and sedimentary rocks are available which can be used as building stone. The Kirana Group of stone constitute the most northerly exposure of the Indian Shield. The Kirana hills are located 12-km south of Sargodha town and the rocks of same composition have been extended to Shahkot (District Nankana). Sangla Hills (District Nankana) and Chiniot (District Jhang). The formation is pre-dominantly composed of grey slate red and grey quartzite with minor amounts of conglomerate. These metasedimentary rocks are interlayered with Andisite Rhyolite and Tuff beds. The sequence of intruded by basic igneous rocks of dibasic composition. The basic dykes contain gold and silver in minor amounts. The rocks of kirana group can be placed in the late Pre-Cambrian age. Great members of small to large crushing plants have been installed in the area producing crush which is used in building and roads.

Further Limestone is abundantly found in Punjab. Besides its industrial uses (cement manufacturing lime making soda ash manufacturing etc) it is also being used at vast scale as building material in crushed from. Margallah crush limestone market is well known. Also limestone in raw and crushed from in Districts of Attock Rawalpindi Jhelum Chakwal Khushab Mianwali and D. G. Khan is being used as building stone. Purple sandstone magnesian sandstone and other sedimentary rocks exposed in the Salt Range particularly in its eastern half are quite suitable for use as building stone. The magnesian sand tone is quarried near Jutana and at Chammal. There are other places in the Salt Range where different types of rocks have been quarried for use as road blast aggregate stone etc.

Another important site of crush market is near Sakhi Sarwar District Dera Ghazi Khan where about 50 to 60 crushers have been installed. The material here is broken limestone embedded in clay (conglomerate). The said crush market fulfils almost whole of the demand of the southern Punjab. Slate stone found near Romian District Attock is also used as building material.

COAL OF SUB-BITUMINOUS QUALITY

The sources claim that in Punjab province huge coal deposits are found in the Salt Range. The main coal deposits are found in Districts of Attock Jhelum Chakwal Khushab and Mianwali. Thickness of coal seams in Punjab generally ranges from a few centimeters to 1.5 meters. The coal found in Punjab is of sub-bituminous quality. Most coal deposits and associated carbonaceous shales are found in the Salt Range and Trans Indus Range (Surghar Range) within the Patala Formation and Hungu Formation of Paleocene age. Limited occurance is available in Tobra Formation of Permian age. Patala Formation which contains the major coal deposits in the Central and Eastern Salt Range consists of dark grey fossilliferous shale inter bedded with white quartgose sand stone siltstone marl and limestone. Permian coal deposits in the Western Salt Range near Buri Khel village of District Mianwali are generally discontinuous and of poor quality.

Better quality Permian coal bed may be possibly discovered in the Punjab Plain upon further exploration. The Patala Formation grades laterally toward West into Hangu Formation. The coal near Makerwal (District Mianwali) and adjoining areas in Trans Indus Range is mined from Hangu Formation. Coal seam in Makerwal area ranges in thickness from 2 feet to 10 feet. Makerwal Coal is slightly better and finally clean than that of the Salt Range and is classified as high volatile bituminous. Its calorific value varies between 9500 BTU to 11850 BTU. Coal reserves are estimated about one million ton.

Salt Range Coal fields extend from 12.5 miles north of Khushab to about 15 mile north of Khewra within an area approximately 100 square miles. Coal occurs in the Patala Formation. Coal seam ranging in thickness from few inches to a maximum of five feet is available in the whole Salt Range. The coal has been classified as high volatile bituminous with high ash and sulphur contents. Its calorific value in BTU varies from 7100 to 11100. Reserves have been estimated to be 75 million tons the sources add. There is possible existence of coal at Budhwana in District Jhang and kamiab in District Layyah where AMOCO (American Oil Company) had carried out oil exploration work. Information collected from Federal Government revealed that coal bearing strata was encountered at 192 feet and 637 feet depth at Budhwana (Jhang) and at 296 feet at Kamiab (Layyah) the sources said.

LARGEST DEPOSITS OF PAKISTAN

Further the Kalabagh iron ore deposits are the largest known deposits in Pakistan of low-grade iron ore in District Mianwali in the Surghar Range and near Sakesar in the Salt Range. Much work has been done on Kalabagh iron ore deposit in the past by M/S Pakistan Mineral Development Corporation. The deposits of iron ore occurs in the upper part of the Lumshiwal Formation of Upper Cretaceous age. The ores are very irregular in composition owing to the presence of many different iron minerals in varying amounts. Mineralogical composition the ores controls its chemical composition and metallurgical suitability. The Kalabagh iron ore can be classified into two broad types on the basis of mineralogy. These are the Kuch type (chomosite-siderite) and the Chichali type (glauconite-siderite). A transitional type of ore is also present and is represented by the ore of Chuglan and Tolamangli.

The basal part of the Chitarwala Formation contains iron ore especially in Rakhi Munh (District D. G. Khan) area in the eastern flank of the Fort Munru anticlines. The iron occurs as banded iron ore and is exposed in the foothills at 2 km west of Rakhi Munh (39 k-l) which is located at 53 km west of D. G. Khan. The iron ore deposits are also located south of Chiniot Town in Jhang District. The iron ore deposits are located very close to Chiniot town where all the infrastructure facilities are available. An extensive work is being done on these deposits by M/S Punjab Mineral Development Corporation.

Punjab Mineral Development Corporation (Punjmin) is a self reliant model mining organization producing minerals like Coal Salt Gypsum Silica Sand and Bauxite. It act like a mentor for private sector mining organizations and has built a sustainable mining business in line with legal and safety standards. Punjmin intends to be a major player in the provincial economy and is endeavoring to find a place in the list of big mining corporations of the globe. It is also working on exploration and development of new mining zones to meet the requirements of coal fired power plants.

Hopefully exploration activities will get boost which will help strengthen the provincial economy.
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Publication:Pakistan & Gulf Economist
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Mar 15, 2015
Words:1400
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