ISLAMABAD          -         The Geological Survey of Pakistan (GSP) has planned to execute four projects, worth Rs519.057 million, during the next fiscal year to assess the country’s real mineral potential, maintain its data and excel in hydrocarbon drilling activities. “The GSP has proposed four projects in the next Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP), out of these three Rs 512.533 million projects are related to mineral sector and one Rs 6.524 million scheme is meant for the fuel sector,” according to an official document available with APP. The National Assembly Standing Committee on Energy has recently approved the budgetary proposals of the Petroleum Division for incorporating in the PSDP 2020-21. Under a project, the GSP wants geological mapping of 50 Toposheets of ‘outcrop area’ of Balochistan province to maintain database for future exploration of the occurrences of metallic and non-metallic minerals potential, dimension stones, aggregates and limestone reserves for the industry at a cost of Rs127.595 million. The project would be completed during a three-year period; however, the department has requested for Rs 50.130 million allocations in the upcoming PSDP. The geological maps provide a bird’s eye view of the surface and (subsurface) distribution of various types of rocks and economic minerals that are found in a particular region.  “These maps are essential for all future detailed geological works including, minerals’ exploration, civil engineering, soil surveys, land use, town planning, groundwater, earthquake hazards; environmental geology and soil conservation projects.”

 

  According to the document, the total outcrop area of Balochistan is 335,360 Square Kilometers (524 Toposheets) out of which 108,800 Sq Km. (170 Toposheets) have been mapped and published on 1:50,000 scale and the maps are available.  “This project will help map the outcrop area in detail on 1:50,000 scale and maintain database for future exploration of the occurrences of metallic and non-metallic mineral potential, dimension stones, aggregates and limestone reserves for the industry in targeted potential areas of Balochistan.” The studies would provide a platform for exploration of mineral resources by using other geo-scientific investigations like geophysical survey and geochemical studies followed by drilling operations and contribute considerably towards development of mineral industry and mining sector. Under another two-year project, the GSP would establish and strengthen its research laboratories at Peshawar Regional Office to give a boost to the mining sector in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). For the next fiscal year, it had demanded Rs 67.036 million funds against the total estimated project cost of Rs 96.456 million. The department believes that the KP and merged FATA have potential of 30 gigawatts of clean energy in the form of geothermal energy. The field area under GSP Peshawar office is geologically rich as it contains abundant metallic and non-metallic minerals. “Consequently, there is a dire need for up-gradation and establishment of various research laboratories.” The GSP said research activities like geological mapping, mineral exploration and investigation would be carried out more effectively and efficiently at the proposed laboratories of diverse nature as there was “great geological diversity of rock types.” For advancement of an ongoing coal exploration and evaluation project in Nosham and Bahlol areas of Balochistan province, the department has sought Rs 6.524 million allocation in the next PSDP.  “The project investigations would result in proving more than 20 million tons of coal worth over Rs 2000 million at the current market rate.” Under another ongoing project to acquire new drilling rigs and accessories, the GSP has demanded funds amounting to Rs 414.735 million. The new rigs will enable the GSP to execute projects involving drilling more efficiently and cost effectively within the scheduled time. The new drilling rigs and equipment would help in boosting the efforts of exploration to develop the mineral, energy and water sectors, besides accelerating the pace of overall socio-economic development in the country.