LAHORE -  Punjab Minister for Mines and Minerals Chaudhry Sher Ali Khan has said that important reforms had been introduced with an aim to increase investment opportunities and generate more revenues.

Addressing a meeting, he said that reforms would discourage monopoly factor in the mines leasing process. He said that mining sector had great importance in the industrial and financial development of the province. "New reserve prices are according to the ground realities and they will increase the investment in the mining sector", he said.

The meeting discussed different proposals to increase royalty rates for major minerals and also gave approval for revision of application fee and rents under small scale mining. The minister said that reforms were introduced with mutual understanding of all the stakeholders.

On the occasion, Mines and Minerals Director General Raja Khurram Jehangir said that the tenure of leasing of the mines had been shortened from previous ten years to five years to enable maximum number of people for an open and fair bidding process for investment in the this sector. He apprised the meeting that 142 blocks of different minerals escalated from 26 districts of the province would soon be auctioned according to the new reserve prices.