ISLAMABAD: (APP) The recent geological investigations have shown that 185 billion tons of coal reserves exist in different parts of the country, which can be used as a primary and inexpensive source for power generation .
"More than 184 billion tons deposits are located in Sindh province, with Thar coal field being the largest followed by Thatta-Sonda, Lakhra and Jhimpir. The coal is lignite to lignite-A to sub bituminous B&C in character with an average heating value of 6000 BTU/lb," officials sources told APP.
Coal is primarily classified into four major categories, or 'ranks' like lignite, sub-bituminous, bituminous and anthracite. One of the most valuable content of coal is its carbon content which supplies most of its heating value.
The sources informed that further investigations were being carried out to explore and evaluate coal deposits in Musakheil, Kingri and Toisar Basin, Musakheil district, Balochistan.
They said the government had made effective policies to attract investment in the coal mining sector to achieve self-reliance in the energy sector.
Answering a question, they said the mining and quarrying sector grew by 0.6 per cent in 2015-16. "Estimates suggest there are copper reserves of 1.9 billion tons and 11.2 million ounces of gold in different localities."
They admitted that the primary reason for not getting maximum benefit of the natural resources was the application of out-dated technologies, poor management and inadequate capital besides security situation in some areas where the bulk of the mineral resources were located.
The mineral sector of Pakistan is spread over 600,000 square kilometres and 92 known minerals, while 52 are commercially exploited.
"The geological mapping of 3,200 square kilometres on 1:50,000 scales has been completed in different parts of the country, which included coverage of 640 square kilometres each of Balochistan, Sindh, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Northern Areas and Gilgit-Baltistan. Collection of the data, geological maps, toposheets, and digitalisation of the maps is under process," they said.
Presently, the sources said above 5,000 operational mines and 50,000 small and medium enterprises were producing average 68.52 million tons per year and providing direct employment to 300,000 workers.