The government has utilised only 54 per cent funds from the total allocation on different projects in the mineral sector during the outgoing financial year.
An allocation of Rs 21.3 million was made for the mineral sector, excluding the coal industry, in the financial year 2011 while total expenditure stood at Rs11.5 million, according to Annual Plan 2010-11.
Important projects initiated in the outgoing financial year include Strengthening and Capacity Building of the Mineral Sector, National Coal Policy of Pakistan and review of the National Mineral Policy.
The government is focusing to generate electricity through underground coal gasification of Thar Coal deposits which will produce 1,000MW. The Sindh Government has allocated five of nine developed blocks in Thar to different local and multinational companies for mining, power generation and coal gasification. Coal mining however, has not started as yet.
The Sindh Government signed a joint venture agreement with Engro Power to develop a coal mine and set up a 1,000 MW power generation capacity plant. The feasibility study is under progress.
Cougar Energy, UK was granted a mining concession for underground coal gasification leading to commissioning 400 MW power project in Block-III. The preparation of the feasibility study is under way.
Bin Daen Group, UAE got exploration license of block-IV and plans to set up a mine site power plant of 1,000MW. The group is currently exploring partners to carryout the feasibility study. A project for production of copper and gold from Reko-Diq, the fifth largest deposits in the world, located in Balochistan was also approved.
Outlook for 2011-12
The mineral sector is expected to grow at one per cent during 2011-12 with an allocation of Rs149 million made for the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources. Important projects include National Coal Policy of Pakistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 8th, 2011.
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