Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) is a treasure trove of minerals and precious stones, said AJK President Sardar Masood Khan said talking to Pakistan Stone Development Company (PSDC) CEO Zahid Maqsood Shiekh who called on him on Wednesday.
The president said that in addition to the proven reserves of marble and granite other mineral resources include copper, gold, silver and coal, as well as precious stones like rubies, sapphire and tourmaline.
However, it requires massive investment in infrastructure, modern machinery, training and craftsmanship to tap into the full potential of gems and mineral sector of AJK, he said.
“Geological surveys had indicated huge reserves of minerals and precious stones, but due to the lack of resources and indifferent planning in the past we have not been able to realise the full potential of these natural resources,” he said.
Sheikh said that PSDC was keen to partner with the Azad Kashmir Mineral and Industries Corporation, as well as other stakeholders for the development of the extractive industry in Azad Kashmir. “The emphasis”, he said, “will be on local ownership.”
The president said that while developing extractive industry, environmental factors and protection of the fragile eco-system must be given the highest priority. Mining industry must contribute to sustainable development, he said.
Neelum Valley development
Earlier, AJK Legislative Assembly Speaker Shah Ghulam Qadir called on Masood to discuss the latest situation in Indian occupied Kashmir (IoK), various matters relating to legislation and administration in AJK.
Qadir apprised the president of the development work in Neelum Valley. He also explained the efforts made to develop the extractive industry, tourism and forestry. He said that the abundant natural resources in Neelum Valley will help the economic growth of AJK and Pakistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 9th, 2017.
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