ISLAMABAD  - Pakistan Stone Development Company (PASDEC) has introduced a mechanized quarrying of marble and limestone to enhance exploration of minerals from Balochistan.

The Company has established one machinery pool and five quarrying projects in collaboration with private lease-holders, sources at PASDEC said here on Thursday.

They said as part of its steps to promote exploration, one common facility & training center is also in process and a marble city is being established at Loralai for processing of marble and granite.

This would help generate more than 10,000 direct and indirect jobs in the province.

Giving details of mineral exploration projects launched in Balochistan province during last five years, the sources said one of them was Balochistan Copper-Gold Project at Reko-Diq area, District Chagai.

They said about 95 prospecting/exploration licenses have been granted in private sector for different minerals - coal, marble, iron, manganese, copper, fluorite and barite etc.

The Geological Survey of Pakistan conducted geological mapping/mineral investigation in districts Zhob, Loralai, Qila Saifullah, Shirani, Ziarat, Bela, Wadh, Dal Badin and Chagai, Balochistan.

New mineral occurrences of copper, manganese and iron have been identified in Lasbela, Khuzdar and Chagai areas as these mineral showings require detailed exploration for proving as economic deposits.

Moreover, the sources said under exploration and evaluation of Chamalang-Bala Dhaka, Bahlol (Districts Kohlu, Barkhan and Loralai) and parts of Ghazij Coal Basin, good quality coal deposits found in these areas are substantial addition to coal resources of the province.

The other major step was up-gradation and strengthening of Geo-science Advance Research Laboratories, Islamabad through procurement of scientific equipment.

With regard to other measures adopted by Federal and Provincial governments for enhancing mineral production in Balochistan, the sources said these included updated National Mineral Policy to facilitate investment in mineral sector and enhance its international competitiveness with consensus of provinces and approval of Council of Common Interests (CCI).

Pakistan Mineral Development Corporation (PMDC) has been regularly carrying out development works to maintain and enhance coal production from its Sor-Range, Degari and Sharigh Collieries. The Corporation is also working in a joint venture with a Chinese company for exploitation of Zinc deposit (District Lasbela) which is presently under trial production.

Moreover, the sources said a Marble City at Hub has been established to introduce modern mechanized mining, cutting and polishing of stone of international standard.