People may have many questions about the minerals found in Pakistan. Are they extracted or are they just found? I am going to answer these questions in this blog. Mining is an important industry in Pakistan. Pakistan has deposits of several minerals including coal, copper, gold, chromite, mineral salt, bauxite, and several other minerals. Pakistan’s mineral resources are spread all over the country. Pakistan has more than 5,000 mines According to a research report, Pakistan has mineral resources in an area of 600,000 square kilometers. Balochistan has the most mineral deposits among the provinces of Pakistan, with Sindh rich in coal deposits and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa rich in gems.
First of all, let’s talk about the gold reserves of Pakistan. According to the report of the United States Geological Survey USGS, Pakistan may have 129 tons of gold reserves. In 2010, when TCC refinery company has given feasibility to Pakistan for agreement, it had also indicated in the report that it would extract 7,800 kg of gold annually. According to the agreement, 482 tons of gold was to be extracted from reko diq mine alone in 56 years. Thus, Pakistan becomes the twelfth largest gold reservoir in the world. However, Pakistan yet has extracted only 64.65 tons of gold. The reason for this is that gold mining requires a huge amount of capital, machinery, skills, and technology to separate gold from other particles. But unfortunately, this has not been possible yet.
Now let’s talk about the second most precious reserve of Pakistan, which is copper. Copper deposits are founded in large amounts mainly in the Balochistan province of Pakistan. The geological survey of Pakistan claims that Pakistan can extract more than 1352 million tons of copper. No country seems to be close to Pakistan in terms of this metal. If this claim is true then, because the recognized copper reserves in the South American country of Chile are 200 million metric tons. Reko diq mine is the largest reservoir of copper in Pakistan. There are also copper deposits in Daht-e-Kuhn, Nok Kundi, located in Chaghi District. In 2020, Pakistan exported $327M of Refined Copper, making it the 34th largest exporter of Refined Copper in the world. In the same year, Refined Copper was the 17th most exported product in Pakistan. Copper is mostly used in electric wires.
Chromite is also counted among the most precious metals. It is mostly used for metal plates, leather making, dyeing, printing, and pharmaceuticals. In addition, chromite is also used as a catalyst and oxidant. According to the geological survey, Pakistan also has vast deposits of chromite. According to an estimate, 226.8 million metric tons of chromite is found in Pakistan. On the other hand, South Africa has 11 million metric tons and Kazakhstan has 4 million metric tons of chromite. The vast majority of chromite ore is exported to the People’s Republic of China.
Iron metal is considered a sign of any country’s progress. According to the report of the Pakistan Geological Survey, Pakistan has 1.5 billion tons of iron reserves. Iron ore is found in various regions of Pakistan including Nokundi, Chiniot, Kalabagh the largest one, Haripur, and other northern areas. In February 2015, reserves were found in Chiniot, around 160 kilometers northwest of Lahore, by a Chinese group, the Metallurgical Cooperation of China. If we review the iron reserves in different countries of the world, Australia has 48 billion tons of recognized iron reserves, Brazil has 29 billion tons and Russia has 25 billion tons of iron ore.
Now let’s talk about the coal reserves of Pakistan. Pakistan has coal deposits in Sindh, Punjab, and Baluchistan provinces. The total coal resources there are reported to be approximately 185 billion tonnes. Only Sindh holds 95% of the total coal reserves of Pakistan. The USA has the largest amount of coal deposits at 245 billion tons. Pakistan is ranked second in coal production according to a geological survey of Pakistan. However, according to the BB statistical record of world energy, Russia is ranked second and Australia is in third place. Recently very high-quality coal reserves were founded in tharparkar.
Natural Gas Reserves
Many peoples think that Pakistan is among the list of top 10 producers of Natural Gas, but this is wrong because Pakistan is the 30th largest producer of natural gas. Being a 5th populous country in the world, natural gas is the main need of people. Pakistan has 105 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves. It is noticeable that the natural gas reserves of Pakistan are decreasing rapidly due to heavy industrial usage. The gas shortage appears every year in the winter season. That’s why Pakistan needs to import Gas from Qatar and Turkmenistan. Russia has the largest natural gas reserves in the world. And Iran and Qatar are second and third in natural gas reserves respectively. The Sui gas field is the biggest natural gas field in Pakistan. It is located near Sui in Balochistan. The gas field was discovered in late 1952.
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Crude Oil Reserves
Now let’s talk about the crude oil reserves of Pakistan. Pakistan is on 52nd number among the oil-producing countries in the world. The oil reserves of Pakistan are only 0.02% of the total oil reserves in the world. According to a report from 2016, Pakistan has 353.5 million barrels of oil reserves. That means oil reserves just like gas reserves are much less than our needs. That’s why Pakistan spends a large number of dollars on the import of oil every year. A geological survey of Pakistan thinks that Pakistan has 618 billion barrels of oil. But Pakistan has no ability to take it out. Among countries with oil reserves, Venezuala comes in the first number followed by Saudi Arabia and Canada.
Gypsum is one of the minerals used in fertilizers. Gypsum mines are found in large amounts in Pakistan. Pakistan is endowed with natural resources in huge reserves of Gypsum that are concentrated in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa). A geological survey of Pakistan claims that Pakistan has 6 billion tons of gypsum reserves. It is estimated that about 92% of Pakistan’s gypsum reserves, that is, 5.5 Billion tons exist in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa only. Kohat division which comprises of Kohat and Karak districts accounts for 89%, that is, 4.9 Billion tons of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s high-quality gypsum. It has 59 mine leases. The production for the year 2017, is estimated to be 3.5 million tons. However, according to USGS Pakistan has only 4.9 million tons of Gypsum reserves.
The metallic element zinc is used in industries and pharmaceuticals. Geological Survey of Pakistan claims that Pakistan has 24 million tons of Zinc reserves. However, according to USGS, Australia has 68 million tons, China has 44 million tons, and Russia and Mexico have reserves of 22, 22 million tons reserves of Zinc, making Pakistan the third largest producer of Zinc in the world. However, the reality is that Pakistan not even comes on the list of top 20 zinc-producing countries. Due to a lack of machinery and mining equipment.
Marble and Granite Reserves
Marble and Granite are used in house decorations. According to Geological Survey Pakistan, we have 297 million tons of marble and granite reserves in this country. According to this report, Pakistan ranks sixth among the top producers of Granite and Marble. But the reality is quite different. In 2017, Turkey exported more than 781.0 million tons of marble, followed by Italy at 266.4 million tonnes and then China at 111.4 million tonnes. Greece and Spain are also among the list of top 10 exporters of Marble. Pakistan, despite having such vast reserves does not take place in this list. Our condition in granite is also very bad. Pakistan has obtained only 229 tons of Granite from its mountains which is very less.
After the construction stones now let’s talk about precious gemstones that enhance personal beauty. So, Pakistan also has its vast reserves. The Geological Survey of Pakistan Claims that there are more than 30 types of precious stones in our Country including emerald, apatite, sapphire, etc. According to a 2017 report, Pakistan is the land of 30% of the world’s most precious stones but its share in its exports is non-existent.
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If Pakistan succeeds in extracting its mineral resources then its possible that in the future Pakistan’s economy and currency will become stable.