Mineral sector uplift plan to create mining value chain of $28 bn

ISLAMABAD: The government has carved out a strategic plan for mineral sector development to create an all-inclusive eco-system that will develop an integrated mining value chain contributing up to 10 per cent of GDP ($28 billion) within the next 10-15 years.

Under the plan, five projects of paramount importance — Chiniot Steel Mills, Kalabagh Steel Mills, East Ore Body (EOB) at Saindak, Barite-Lead-Zinc Project and Bolan Mining Enterprises (BME, Khuzdar) and North Waziristan Copper Deposit will be delevopled. For these five projects, road shows will be held to attract investors.

In addition, feasibility studies will be initiated for seven vital projects — Solar Panel Manufacturing Plant at Mianwali and Attock, Chemical Industry Establishment in Salt Range, Coal Gasification Project Feasibility and Business Case (Thar), Cement Plants (Punjab and KP), Chromite Plant at Muslim Bagh, Balochistan, Mini Steel Mill or Iron Ore Processing Facility (Naukundi or Chagai) and Granite City at Nagarparkar.

Prepared by Petroleum Division after detailed consultations with leading Int’l industry professionals, public entities and provincial mines and minerals departments, the plan aims at creating economies of scale and scope for ensuring commercial viability for all parts of the mining value chain.

The plan also focuses on employment generation through capacity building, improving balance of payment through import substitution and export enhancement.

It also emphasises the modus operandi to attract FDI targeted to build strategic assets with tangible knowledge and technology transfer. The plan contains short, medium and long-term strategies from holding road shows of some important projects which are ready for investment and initiating feasibility studies to programmatic resource mapping, establishing national mineral data, and transforming Geological Survey of Pakistan.

Officials involved in carving out the strategic plan for mineral sector development say to materialse the plan, there is a requirement to approve some decisions that are; approval of the “Strategic Plan for Mineral Sector Development”, constitution of a progress review committee under the Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Minister, formulation of “PM Mineral Development Package” based on the strategic plan under progress review committee and arranging technical assistance from World Bank, ADB etc., through EAD and Planning Commission, for professional facilitation.

They say that Petroleum Secretary Dr Arshad Mehmood on Oct 8, 2021, had briefed the prime minister on the strategic plan for mineral sector development and the premier had appreciated the plan and asked the authorities to pitch the projects with China under the CPEC umbrella for joint ventures. The prime minister had also asked the authorities to appoint a focal person for materializing the strategic plan.

According to the plan copy of which is available to The News, the Geological Survey of Pakistan (GSP) will be transformed into a resource mapping and business pre-feasibility hub through international collaboration and upfront investment model —- cost sharing incentive for provinces, boosting HR skills and professional development ecosystem, fiscal incentives for mineral sector and credit facilitation, alluring local private sector investment and foreign direct investment as well.The National Mineral Development Plan hinges on five pillars that include from deposit to industrialisation, technical outreach, indigenous human resources, business climate for the mineral sector, and financing structure.

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