Mines & Mineral Department was functioning in the Directorate of Industries & Mineral Development since 1964. The independent Department of Mines & Minerals was created in 2002 by the implementation of National Mineral Policy. It is to mention that National Mineral Policy 1995, acts as a guideline for formulating the polices of the Provincial Department of Mines & Minerals. Mines & Minerals Department, Government of the Punjab is the responsible instrument of the state for mineral resource wealth mapping, its development and exploitation. Punjab has been lavishly blessed with mineral wealth but it is yet to be exploited systematically. Currently, 20 minerals are being excavated out of 35 known. Punjab has 596 million tons of coal resources estimated through JORC standards by M/s Snowden and 150 million tons of iron ore reserves at Chiniot-Rajoa estimated through NI43 standards.
Under the dynamic leadership of Chief Minister Punjab, Mines & Minerals Department is leaving no stone unturned to promote and facilitate Mines & Minerals Exploration and Exploitation in Punjab to attract Local and foreign Investment, thereby ensuring a positive thrust in the provincial GDP. Other goal includes infrastructure development in mining areas and safety, health and welfare of mine workers. Mines & Mineral Department is striving to follow the road map on mineral exploration projects planned by government of punjab. A future vision of Mines & Minerals Department in outlined below:
• To increase the contribution of mineral sector to GDP through enhanced production.
• To expand the mining sector by focusing on exploration and evaluation of mineral resources.
• To enhance public sector investment on resource mapping, geo-data based development and provision of physical infrastructure, roads and electricity in the potential areas.
• To promote facilitation role of government for prospective investors.
• To encourage and support exploration of minerals, particularly in the private sector.
• To promote environment friendly mining practices and take measures for mitigation of environmental hazards for sustainable development of mineral sector, and to encourage the development of safety, health and welfare of mine workers.
• According to a recent World Bank report; based on the experience of other countries with similar geological endowment, it is estimated that Pakistan can really turn this potential and generate significant growth and local economic development. It continues to say that the mineral sector with sufficient capital and a favorable investment climate has the capacity to contribute annual revenues and foreign exchange in the range of USD 1.5 – 2.0 billion or 2 – 3 % of GDP, stimulate secondary and tertiary economic activity, promote growth and provide employment and community development in largely remote regions of the country. Land is still available for investments in agricultural production and corporate farming.
• Each year, Pakistan imports over USD 1.5 billion worth or iron and steel scrap to cater to its steel requirements. It is widely accepted that there is immense latent demand hidden within the figures which remain un-satiated due to lack of necessary capital depth to import more iron which at present range around 5 million MT per annum.
• Against reserves of 500 MT, current production of coal is limited to just 1 MT in Punjab signaling great room for further coal production.
• Government of Punjab is greatly incentivizing investments into the coal extraction and in coal based power generation.
• Punjab’s limestone reserves have a cement production capacity of over 17 MT per annum. With 11 large cement plants operating in the province, the limestone deposits in the Salt Range, Margalla Hills and Koh-e-Suleman Range can be exploited to provide for existing, and installation of new, cement plants. Limestone or slaked lime may also be used to provide for the rubber industry, steel mills blast furnaces and building and construction.
• Limestone mining and quarrying (providing inputs to the cement industry)
• Coal extraction and coal-based power generation
• Iron ore extraction
• Ultra refined crystalline salt (PVD salt) production
• Gypsum mining and processing
• Limestone as dimension stone extraction and processing
• Bauxite ore extraction
• Potash fertilizer production