LAHORE - The raw gypsum has become Pakistan’s most traded item with India through Wagah-Attari border, as more than 80 trucks, carrying gypsum of around 3,000 tons, out of total 167 truckloads are sent to India from Pakistan on daily basis.

Other items that are exported by Pakistan to India through Wagha border on daily basis on average included cement (43 truckloads), limestone (10 truckloads), aluminum (16 truckloads), rubber (01 truckloads), soda (02 truckloads), salt (09 truckloads) and dates (05 truckloads) etc.

The rates of gypsum have constantly been increasing domestically, as mine contactors are exporting raw gypsum in mass quantity without any value-addition. Industry sources said that if exports of gypsum continued unchecked, the local cement manufacturers, who are the major users of this commodity, will suffer the most due to its constant hike in rates, impacting the prices of cement too.

They said that Pakistan exports at least 3,000 tons of gypsum in crushed lose form with value up to $23 per ton daily, widely used as a raw material of cement as well as the fertilizer in India. Gypsum, a soft sulfate mineral, is also the main constituent in many forms of plaster, blackboard chalk and wallboard.

Industry experts said that owing to export in bulk quantity of gypsum its rate in India has come down because of Indian importers monopoly. On the other hand, the Pakistani exporters have enough amounts, having no other option except to send it out to India. Industry experts said that Indian Punjab demand of cement is around 8 to 10 million tons while only 1.2 million tons of cement is being exported to India annually on average. They said that as Pakistani cement is of superior quality hence 20 percent of gypsum can be included in it and it is resold it in Indian market. They said that India also imports gypsum from Pakistan for soil fertility purpose. They said that before the opening of Wagha, only 2500 to 3,000 ton of gypsum was traded, which have now increased to 28,000 to 30,000 tons monthly. They said that a cement plant is installed worth billions of rupees in the period of five years keeping in view of the limestone reserves of more than 200 years. So availability of gypsum for this long period should also be ensured. They said that gypsum is exported at up to $30 per ton while after value addition it can be traded more than $70 per ton.

As per the data, around 873,9561 tons gypsum is being produced all over the country while in Punjab its production is 681,742 tons. Officials said that cement sector’s requirement in Punjab is 5,580 tons of gypsum daily while its quality is produced from DG Khan.