PM says discovery of huge reserves of iron ore could end 'begging bowl' culture

Published: February 11, 2015
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Prime MInister Nawaz Sharif visits Chinio. PHOTO: RADIO PAKISTAN

Prime MInister Nawaz Sharif visits Chinio. PHOTO: RADIO PAKISTAN

CHINIOT: Major reserves of iron ore as well as copper, silver and gold were discovered in Chiniot on Wednesday, which Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said could end the country’s “begging bowl” culture.

The reserves were found in Chiniot city in Punjab by Chinese group the Metallurgical Cooperation of China.

A senior provincial administrative official told AFP that initial estimates indicated 500 million tonnes of iron ore — a primary ingredient in steelmaking — had been discovered.

He said the Chinese company has expressed interest in setting up a steel mill on the site, adding that the extracted iron had been tested in Swiss and Canadian laboratories, which found 60-65 percent of it to be high grade.

The official added that silver, copper and gold samples would also be sent for testing soon.

Speaking at the site on Wednesday, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said the discovery could help Pakistan’s stuttering economy turn a corner and end its “begging bowl” culture.

“Instead of asking for coal from abroad, we will ask for it from Thar,” the prime minister said, while speaking at a briefing regarding the discovery of precious deposits of gold, copper and iron at Rajua in Chiniot on Wednesday. He added that the natural resources of the country will be fully exploited for the prosperity and development of Pakistan.

The prime minister said local and foreign investors will be invited to invest in projects after the completion of tests, adding that the government will fully facilitate the investors.

“It is Allah’s blessing that under the lush green fields rich deposits of copper, iron and gold have been found, which will help the country get rid of the ‘begging bowl’ for good,” PM Nawaz said.

The premier also mentioned Reko Diq in Balochistan being heavily rich in minerals, while adding that “Balochistan would benefit from this.”

Nawaz said the government is facing three challenges at the moment; security, shortage of electricity and gas, and restoring peace in the country.

Conflict, instability, corruption and a chronic energy shortage have hampered Pakistan’s economy for years.

The IMF granted a $6.6billion loan to Pakistan in September 2013 on the condition that it carry out extensive economic reforms, particularly in the energy and taxation sectors.

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Reader Comments (41)

  • pk
    Feb 11, 2015 - 5:56PM

    Pakistan is already self-sufficient in Sharifs. Wrong Number guys!Recommend

  • Abu Noor
    Feb 11, 2015 - 7:26PM

    Pakistan is already self-sufficient in terms of crisis!!!Recommend

  • natawaan
    Feb 11, 2015 - 8:07PM

    China..again? Another East India Company in the making. Our bahadur shahs are ignorant of history i guess.Recommend

  • Mohsin
    Feb 11, 2015 - 8:15PM

    Z.A.Bhutto discovered oil and announced it (if I remember correctly on the floor of N.A.) . Now Nawaz found Iron Ore.The only thing people discovred over the years is more hardship. So, lets carry on on hope as we have always.Recommend

  • John B
    Feb 11, 2015 - 8:17PM

    “the natural resources of the country will be fully exploited for the prosperity and development of Pakistan.”:-
    As long as Sharif Brothers steel mill is not involved in this deal, all is fine.

    Steel production needs coal (coke) and lignite in Thar (Sindh) is an ideal solution. PAK should watch out that it goes in global contract for maximum efficiency. Iron ore is not the problem but the coal is. You can’t make steel without the coke used for recovering iron from the ore.Recommend

  • woody
    Feb 11, 2015 - 8:53PM

    “Instead of asking for coal from
    abroad, we will ask for it from Thar,”
    the prime minister said.

    Great – except that most of Thar Coal is underwater and not economical to mine – and what’s left has such a low BTU content that it takes more energy to transport it than it produces. Thar Coal is pretty much limited to onsite power plants and experimental coal gasification projects which are helpful but certainly not the solution that he promises. Makes you wonder whether the new iron deposits are as bogus as the Thar Coal.Recommend

  • Dr. Khalid
    Feb 11, 2015 - 9:09PM

    What we lake is awareness in people who elect corrupt, incompetent and self-centered people to power who uses all our treasures for their own benefits. Good Example is the current government!Recommend

  • PrasadDeccani
    Feb 11, 2015 - 9:16PM

    Good news. Good luck to you all.Recommend

  • Feb 11, 2015 - 9:26PM

    Is it a reality?Recommend

  • doraiz shamsi
    Feb 11, 2015 - 9:27PM

    If this country is run properly we don’t need any Gold silver or iron.Recommend

  • Fawad
    Feb 11, 2015 - 9:29PM

    Another short cut to success. We really do not want to take the proper route via meritocracy, dedication and hard work for success and be fooled by the family limited company. Recommend

  • javed
    Feb 11, 2015 - 9:38PM

    Iron extraction need high carbon coal for producing coke. Thar reserves are better suited for energy generation.Recommend

  • Pacifica
    Feb 11, 2015 - 9:41PM

    This is great news. There is a huge market for iron & steel right next door (India) with railway connections already in place.

    If we can get economic links back on track it will be a huge spur to growth and economic interdependence. With economic interdependence we will each have a stake in the other’s prosperity, and then finally the enmity will die down on its own.

    May we live to see that day!Recommend

  • Dr. Asad Sadick, germany
    Feb 11, 2015 - 9:41PM

    Reason for NS to stay on as PM for life and enjoy the booty.Recommend

  • affan
    Feb 11, 2015 - 10:25PM

    “Huge reserve” is equal to 60 percent of china one year demand.. Recommend

  • Fuad
    Feb 11, 2015 - 10:27PM

    Like Saindak copper mines, the Chinese will take the minerals and leave the bureaucrats clapping at MOU ceremony’s. We will never learn!Recommend

  • Chaigram
    Feb 11, 2015 - 10:36PM

    This report propaganda is just for depressed poor Pakistani’s consumption. This will Atleast postpone the poor performance of the present Government. What a shame that Nawaz can stoop to this low dirt politics and play with the sentiments of the poor. Recommend

  • Tinu
    Feb 11, 2015 - 10:36PM

    India needed over 80 million tons of iron ore last year and by 2020, they expect the demand to rise to 150 million tons per year. Brazil and Australia make up over half of the world’s iron ore exports. Brazil exported over 330 million metric tons of iron ore in 2011 alone. As of 2013, Brazil had reserves of 16 billion metric tons of iron content and 31 billion metric tons of crude ore. The reserves of crude iron ore in the United States are estimated to be approximately 6.9 billion metric tons at this point. Therefore, a find of 500 million tons of iron ore can not be claimed to be such a big find.Recommend

  • mansoor
    Feb 11, 2015 - 10:41PM

    And who owns all that area? Sharif brothers. they bought it at very cheap rates from the locals only 2 years ago.Recommend

  • shahid
    Feb 11, 2015 - 11:07PM

    Only the discovery of patriotic leader will lead this nation to success. Since when has the ‘Industrialist’ started worrying for this country and nation?Recommend

  • Parvez
    Feb 11, 2015 - 11:17PM

    This looks like one of those stories that is concocted by the bureaucracy when the political boss says ‘……do something I need to look good ‘.Recommend

  • pak47
    Feb 11, 2015 - 11:31PM

    Looks like some people can’t appreciate the good things. I guess thats exactly the reason why we are in a state of civil unrest. This political war from Imran Khan and his supporters will sink Pakistan far far beneath the sea.Recommend

  • Hassan kabra
    Feb 11, 2015 - 11:50PM

    Pakistan faces problems of peace, security, corruption, economy, terrorism and energy; rest all is hunkey-dorey.Recommend

  • woody
    Feb 12, 2015 - 12:02AM

    The premier also mentioned Reko Diq in
    Balochistan being heavily rich in
    minerals, while adding that
    “Balochistan would benefit from this.”

    True – but he failed to mention that Pakistan tried to steal this project from it’s foreign investors – after they had sunk hundreds of millions into proving up the reserves and starting the development of the mine. The foreign investors took Pakistan to international court where almost every observer (including Islamabad) believes that the arbitrator is going to rule in favor of the investors which may cost Pakistan Billions.
    .
    I hope Pakistan has learned something from the Reko Diq debacle – I am sure that the Chinese have.Recommend

  • Rohan
    Feb 12, 2015 - 12:42AM

    That’s such a great news… (For China)Recommend

  • Pakistan
    Feb 12, 2015 - 1:02AM

    Hum bhikari he. Hamesha rahenge.Recommend

  • Naresh
    Feb 12, 2015 - 1:37AM

    OLD NEWS
    .
    http://www.dawn.com/news/967891/exploit … s-iron-ore
    Published Aug 09, 2010 12:00am

    In Punjab, vast iron ore reserves are located in Makerwal-Sho, Mianwali (706 million tons), Chiniot, (110 million tons plus anticipated 500 million tons), Chichali, near Kalabagh, Mianwali (369 mn tons) and in DG Khan (268 mn tons). These all are low-grade iron ore, with about 34 per cent iron content
    CheersRecommend

  • MSS
    Feb 12, 2015 - 3:21AM

    It is surprising that iron ore is discovered at the same place as copper and gold. It seems like a geological paradox. Am I being ignorant?Recommend

  • Asok
    Feb 12, 2015 - 6:53AM

    Kudos to the PM for admitting begging bowl culture.

    And congratulations to Pakistan for discovering this natural resource. If it is actually high grade and exploitable, that is good thing. Whether you really want China to be the one developing it is a different matter.

    But, please realize that a nations wealth rarely comes out of the ground. It is created by the hard work and skills of its people. Without that, all else is in vain.Recommend

  • Ahmed Shah
    Feb 12, 2015 - 7:36AM

    @mohsin
    for your information almost 80% of oil discovered in Pakistan goes from Sindh. And yes oil fields are being discovered but lack of resources. Recommend

  • Ahmed Shah
    Feb 12, 2015 - 7:43AM

    @MSS:
    yup! you are what you already think, ignorant. Because in crude form, many minerals are found together. They are not ready made.Recommend

  • Ahmed Shah
    Feb 12, 2015 - 7:54AM

    @natawaan:
    Actually its “Chinese company” NOT “east india company” Our only reliable friend. You forgot US$ 42 Billion Chinese investment in Pakistan in the shape of Pakistan-China economic corridor. What you indians got in return from US, only US$ 4 billion peanuts in shape of loan.Recommend

  • FnB
    Feb 12, 2015 - 10:30AM

    @pak47:
    LoL! Seriously? You think the root cause of all this unrest a mere lack of appreciation?Recommend

  • AA
    Feb 12, 2015 - 3:08PM

    @Dr. Khalid: where is this lake situated? Recommend

  • MSS
    Feb 12, 2015 - 3:41PM

    @Ahmed Shah. Thanks for your comment. My question really related to commercial aspects. When you extract iron ore from a mine, you do it only for iron because it is economically viable. Other elements are present in small and commercially unviable quantities. A commercial firm might try to extract copper from that ore too but the cost of metallurgy will outweigh the profits. In any case 500 million tonnes of iron ore is not going to end the begging bowl syndrome.Recommend

  • Rex Minor
    Feb 12, 2015 - 11:19PM

    A great news for the generation which is not yet born! It is not a secret that the entire Indo pak region has had past civilisations in its history, including the advanced industrial complex in ancient times. The chinese are ready to start copper mining in Afghanistan as soon as the foreign elements take leave. The major obstacle in the development of Pakistan remains its civilian and military overlords who are a great hinderence in upgrading the countriy’s education compass.

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • rkfromny
    Feb 13, 2015 - 1:08AM

    And the Chinese company that invested in this is simply gonna hand all the ‘huge reserves’ and ‘huge profits’ on a platter to you guys.. right..!!!!!!????Recommend

  • Tahir Khan
    Feb 13, 2015 - 4:13PM

    No mention of environmental impact on ‘the green lush fields’.
    no mention of impact on people living in the area.
    Mining is a very ecological damaging industry with impact on the environment and local people.Recommend

  • Indian Khan
    Feb 13, 2015 - 4:15PM

    Huge deposits!! 500million tone … thats a lot for pakistan…

    For others its is worth …. 500mnX65USD = 32.5bn USD in the ground. Good that you have already accepted that there is a begging bowl syndrome in pakistan but have you also realized that like a typical beggar you cant even fathom what really is needed to become better off. 32.5bn dollars is a pittance for any country …

    India spends that much in building couple of metros trains in its burgeoning cities.. Thats what normally top 10 cos of india are producing every year… what a pity!! Your country cant even match its rhetoric it throws at India for even one day in a year … leave alone making lives better for its citizens…Recommend

  • akhter pervez
    Feb 16, 2015 - 10:25PM

    We should be happy. Pakistan will be on progress in next few years. And will meet its goals. Recommend

  • EyeOpening!
    Feb 17, 2015 - 8:12PM

    @Asok: Begging Bowl Culture? You guys were getting a Billion Dollars Annually with a “B” until you made the mistake of shooting that Mars Rocket and UK pulled back its aid. Still U.S. picked-up the tab and now $60plus billion coming from IMF for the Indian poor annually!Recommend

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