PESHAWAR: Speakers at a two-day international conference have termed the role of geologists integral in natural resource exploration of Pakistan.
Most of the resource exploration projects including Thar coal have failed to deliver because the role of geologists has been ignored, said Director Centre of Excellence in Geology Professor Dr Asif Khan while addressing the conference.
Geologists are the people who know the nature, depth and actual potential of the reserves, he added.
Geologist Dr Khan informed that his centre has recently started working with Department of Agriculture over irrigation and mitigation of land degradation in DI Khan region.
The conference is aimed at bringing together geologists, engineers from across Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the Netherlands to discuss the electricity shortage and exploration of natural resources.
They revealed through researched data that Pakistan has coal reserves of 185 billion tons extended over an area of 9,000 square kilometres versus the current consumption of 11 million tons only.
They said the world produces 41% of total electricity from coal while despite having abundant reserves Pakistan’s share of electricity from coal stands at almost zero.
Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa are endowed with 5.3 billion tons of copper, 47 million ounces of gold and 806 million tons of iron.
The irony of the matter is that instead of having excess iron Pakistan is importing it.
Mega hydel reservoirs including Turbela, Mangla and Warsak are producing electricity at 60 paisa per unit but still the cost of electricity the consumer is paying is far higher, thus bringing a lot of burden on the poor, they stated.
Exploration of natural resources has been the key in bringing industrial revolution in Europe, said former professor of University of Peshawar Dr Qasim Jan.
He added that presently there are 2,500 geologists working in the field, but their role in research and development is completely ignored.
Although hydel power generation is the cheapest in the country, yet no tangible step was taken to build dams from 1975 to 2000, said Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) General Manager Rashid Ali Khan.
Mark Zuidgeest ITC Netherlands said Pakistan is an area prone to natural disasters. Constant mapping and Geographical Information Survey based on modern research tools are important to assess future hazards, he added.
The conference concluded at Bara Gali summer campus which was jointly organised by National Centre of Excellence in Geology, Department of Geology UoP with the sponsorship of HEC, Pakistan Petroleum, Pakistan Science Foundation, Pakistan Academy of Sciences and Weatherford.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 26th, 2012.
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