The Punjab government is developing its mineral resources to boost the industrial sector, Minister for Mines and Minerals Chaudhry Sher Ali Khan said on Thursday.
He was addressing a consultative workshop held for restructuring the department.
“In order to attract foreign investment in the mining sector, the government has decided to restructure the department. Major initiatives will be undertaken for infrastructure development in the sector to ensure safety, health and welfare of mine workers,” he said.
Khan said the Punjab had the world’s largest rock salt deposits. “A total of 35 minerals are being mined in the province, including coal, limestone and gypsum. The government has issued 56 leases to large corporations, including multinationals, for industrial production of cement, soda ash, caustic soda, fertilisers, glass, ceramics and marble,” he said.
He said the purpose of the workshop was to get proposals from stakeholders for institutional restructuring process, and strengthening the department’s legal and regulatory framework, promoting marketing of minerals.
“The government wants to bring investment in the mining sector and introduce modern mining technologies. The idea behind restructuring is to present a plan for smooth transition from the current mode. We want to make the minerals sector investment-friendly and promote research and development,” he said.
Recommendations were shared in the workshop for readjustment and reorientation of technical and non-technical human resource with a special focus on capacity building and maximising output, reinforcing linkage within the sector and with allied sectors to attract foreign investment.
The participants proposed a mechanism to strengthen regulatory framework for curbing monopolistic tendencies, lease management and ensuring a healthy and safe mining environment.
Mines and Minerals Secretary Dr Arshad Mahmood said that capacity-based human resource augmentation was required.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 3rd, 2015.
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