Punjab Minister for Minerals Sher Ali has said that the government had assigned a consortium of world’s three best companies with searching, exploring, measuring and discovering minerals while the project would cost Rs1.42 billion.

He said the Nature had enriched Punjab with minerals and metals but there was a dire need of their massive search and exploration. This project would be completed in the coming 18 months. He stated this while talking to the newsmen here after visiting the Ramazan bazaars in Sialkot and Daska.

He said that the country could get rid of the persisting energy crisis by ensuring maximum exploration and utilisation of minerals and other alternative energy resources. He said that there were 600 million tonnes reserves of fine quality iron worth of US$ 70 billion recently discovered in Chiniot region. Now, the world’s top three companies have started work of exploration of these iron reserves, he added.

He disclosed that several foreign companies have been showing their great interest in the commercial use of these mines and minerals recently discovered in Punjab, as the PML-N government has also got prepared a detailed feasibility report about their presence and exploration opportunities in Punjab.

The provincial government has also successfully started a multi-dimensional and effective programme in this regard to make the Punjab economically stable by the exploration of the natural resources.

The minister revealed that there were the reserves of raw iron in Kala Bagh region and the government has started an initial project to get benefits of these reserves of raw iron by spending Rs138 million on this project. He said that several foreign companies were also showing keen interest to start joint ventures of exploring and discovering the coal reserves in Punjab region.

He directed the officials to ensure quality of daily use commodities especially vegetables and fruits and maintain their prices for providing maximum financial relief to the local people. He said that profiteers, black marketers, hoarders and adulterators would be dealt with iron fist. He said that the traders should show their full cooperation to the administration for ensuring the early and smooth provision of relief to the common people.

He narrated that the government has announced special subsidy of Rs5 billion on the daily use commodities following the directions of Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif.