Natural Resources of Pakistan
Resources like mineral, power, water and forest have a huge influence on the economic and social development of a country. Availability of natural resources is the necessary but not a sufficient condition of economic and social development. If a country is rich in resources and these resources are optimally used then there is more possibilities of economic and social development. Accordingly, there is positive relationship between natural resources and economic and social development.
The Pakistan Mineral Development Corporation (1974) is the responsible authority for the support and development of the mining industry. Gemstones Corporation of Pakistan Limited (1978) looks after the interests of stake holders in gem stone mining and polishing as an official entity. Baluchistan is the richest province in terms of mineral resources available in Pakistan. While recently Sindh discovered coal deposits in Thar. Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa is rich in terms of gems. Most of the mineral gems found in Pakistan exist here. Apart from oil, gas and some mineral used in nuclear energy purposes which comes directly under federal control mining of other minerals is provincial issue. Currently around 52 minerals are mined and processed in Pakistan.
Coal which is also named as black gold is found into huge quantities in Thar, Chamalang, Quetta and other sites. Thar reserves are estimated 850 Trillion Cubic Feet. There is enough coal in Pakistan Thar area (though a part of coal is not of good quality) that it can be used for power generation for next 100 years without relying on other i.e. hydro / oil resources. Pakistan recently discovered one low and four low-to-medium quality coal seams in the Punjab. Low sulfur coal was recently reported at the Baluchistan and near Islamabad. Bituminous, sub-bituminous, and lignite coal have been found in Pakistan. About 80% of coal is produced by government and 20% is produced by private sector.
It is one of the oldest industries. Its major users are iron, steel and bricks industries. Coal reserves are estimated at 175 billion tons. This would equate to 618 billion barrels of crude oil. When compared to oil reserves this is more than twice the amount of the top four countries. If At KSA’s current usage, the reserves would last more than 200 years.
2. Natural Gas:
Natural gas production is at a high level in Pakistan. Estimated reserves are 885.3 billion cubic meters (as of January 2009). Gas fields are expected to last for another 20 years. The Sui gas field is the largest, accounting for 26% of Pakistan’s gas production. Gas deposits of Sui discovered in 1953. Daily production is 19 million cubic meters a day. Under the barren mountains of Balochistan and the sands of Sindh, there are untouched oil and gas reserves. Major users of natural gas areas are Karachi, Lahore, Faisalabad, Multan, Rawalpindi and Islamabad.
3. Crude Oil:
Pakistan’s first oil field was in the late 1952 in Baluchistan near a giant Sui gas field. The Toot oil field was not discovered in the early 1960s in the Punjab. It covers 122.67 square kilometers (47.36 sq. mi). Pakistan Petroleum and Pakistan Oilfields explored and began drilling these fields with Soviet help in 1961 and activity began in Toot during 1964. Pakistan has more than 326 million barrels of oil the Senate was told on Wednesday 29 January 2009.
4. Uranium production:
Pakistan has a long history of exporting small amounts of uranium to the west. The Tumman Leghari mine in South Punjab, Baghalchur mine, Dera Ghazi Khan Mine and Issa Khel mines in, Mianwali District. Pakistan has recently used some in its own nuclear power and weapons programs. Pakistan produced about 45 tons of Uranium in 2006.
5. Mineral Salt:
Salt is being mined in the region since 320 BC. Khewra Salt Mines are among world oldest and biggest salt mines. Salt has been mined at Khewra since 320 BC, in an underground area of about 110 square kilometers. Khewra salt mine has estimated total of 220 million tons of rock salt deposits. The current production from the mine is 325,000 tons salt per annum.
6. Copper & Gold:
In Reko Diq, Baluchistan deposits of copper and gold are present. Antofagasta the company having possession of Reko Diqfield is targeting initial production of 170,000 metric tons of copper and 300,000 ounces of gold a year. The project may produce more than 350,000 tons a year of copper and 900,000 ounces of gold. There are also presences of copper deposits in Dasht -e- Kuhn, Nok Kundi, located in Chaghi district.
7. Iron Ore:
Iron ore found in various regions of Pakistan including Nokundi, Chinot and the largest one in Kalabagh (Less than 42% quality), Haripur and other Northern Areas.
8. Gems and other precious stones:
A number of precious stones are mined and polished for local as well as export purposes. The center point of this operation is Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. These includes Actinolite, Hessonite, Rodingite, Agate, Idocrase, Rutile, Aquamarine, Jadeite, Ruby, Amazonite, Kunzite, Serpentine, Azurite, Kyanite, Spessartine (garnet), Beryl, Manganite, Spinel, Emerald, Moonstone, Topaz, Epidote, Pargasite, Tourmaline, Garnet (almandine), Peridot, Turquoise, Garnet (green, grossular), Quartz (citrin & others) and Vesuvianite. The export from these gems is more than 200 Million dollar.