PESHAWAR  - Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak has said that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has largest mineral resources of the world and its fair and scientific utilisation can turn us into richest people.

He said the previous government instead of its proper utilisation in national interest distributed the contracts of these precious minerals among their blue-eyed people. The chief minister said that now these available metals and minerals will be utilised in best interest of people according to international standard.

He expressed these views while presiding over an important meeting regarding prevention of illegal mining as well as exploration and development of minerals resources of KP here in the CM Secretariat on Monday. Besides, Provincial Minister for Mineral Development Ziaullah Afridi and other higher authorities, IGP Nasir Durrani, Divisional Commissioners, Deputy Commissioners, RPOs and DPOs attended the meeting.

The meeting threadbare discussed the matters pertaining to mining and developing mineral resources and necessary decisions were taken.

It was told that prospective mineral blocks identified on the basis of reliable past exploration, through Australian assistance in the nineties, to start with 10 metallic mineral blocks and five gemstone blocks, between 100 to 200 in area, delineated in Chitral and open for bidding.

Similar work is ongoing on other districts of KP, procedure for international bidding is ready and will be piloted in Chitral.

While experience will be used to improve the procedure for other districts, bids from pre-qualified applicants to be invited and processed transparently in the presence of media representatives, bids to be evaluated on objective criteria to select the best bids, no more than two blocks to be awarded to any bidder.

Winning bidders to be awarded exploration licences at a proposed fee of $100,000 per license, bidders to be responsible for all expenditure and risk, 10 per cent of exploration expenditure to be spent on community/social uplift, annual land rent proposed at $100 per square km, deposit finders to be granted Mining Lease (ML) for 30 years.

Mining Lease holders to pay 7 per cent royalty on gross revenue from metallic minerals. Royalty rate for gemstone will be established after market research while once operations become profitable KP to get 25 per cent share of net profit after tax.

The chief minister was told that under his directives a comprehensive draft on Mining and Mineral Development Bill is being prepared, which would be reviewed through an international consultant and will be presented for legislation by end of next month. Similarly, all leases, contracts and auctions of mining would be advertised on world pattern in large-scale and in shape of blocks.

Besides, department concerned, experts and administration, the tendering will be carried out in the presence of media representatives to ensure maximum transparency.

He was further told that largest hurdles in mineral development are illegal mining, not registration of FIR by police, use of influence and getting consecutive stay orders from courts.

On this, the chief minister ruled out getting contracts on the basis of influence during present government. He also directed police for registration of immediate FIR on complaints of illegal mining and clarified that those creating hurdles in this connection should also be arrested forthwith and sent to lock-ups.

 For immediate disposing of all old mining cases, he also directed for hiring the services of competent lawyers while for prevention of illegal mining, he directed police authorities for extending full cooperation to the Department of Minerals and appointment of watchmen on temporary basis.

Taking strong notice of long delay in inquiries, Pervez Khattak directed the completion of all inquiry reports immediately while in future the completion of every inquiry within a period of one week for effective prevention of corruption and slamming of the persons indulged in irregularities.

He said that the result of struggle and hard work of last one year should come in shape of maximum increase in income from minerals and mining and in next meeting his first question will be in this regard.

He instead of exporting metals and minerals in shape of raw material stressed the need for planning of its development at domestic level and establishment of industrial units for manufacturing of furnished products from them, which besides increase in revenue will also generate maximum employment opportunities.

The chief minister explained that with improvement in law and order, foreign investors are keen in making investment in different sectors of searching and utilization of minerals and they are in constant contact with the KP govt.

Therefore, he asked the authorities for planning with complete responsibility.