KARACHI - The Sindh government has decided to establish model quarries and processing units to develop granite and marble with estimated cost of Rs1 billion in the province, sources told The Nation. The Sindh Mines and Mineral Department will execute the project to establish model quarries in Thar- Nagarparker and Thatta-Jhangshai and Jhampir areas in collaboration with Pakistan Stone Development Company. The provincial govt has allocated Rs600m in current ADP 09-10, while the project will complete in three years from FY2009-10 to 2012. According to proposed project, the development of granite and marble quarries, a processing unit and Mosaic Handicrafts Inlay (MHI) Training Centre will be established each in Thatta and Tharparker districts. The quarries will be developed by using modern technology and equipment for extraction of square blocks, while processing units will be established for utilisation of these square blocks, official said. They said that the foreign and local experts will be engaged in the project to carry out the development, based on international benchmarking and standard use of technology. Counting benefits of the project, the official said that to develop complete value chain from quarrying to processing and marketing, self employment through training and development of human resources, to support dimensional stone industry and to increase production of squared blocks and in-turn producing better quality products to compete in international market are the major objectives of this initiative. Furthermore, to increase the mining productivity, efficiency, to minimise the wastage of valuable natural resources and help to reduce environmental degradation will be achieve through this project, official said. Quoting a study of Strategy Working Group of Trade Development Authority of Pakistan, official said that presently about 85pc of stone goes in wastage, which would be reduced to 75pc in FY2011, while the total revenue would be increased to Rs60b in FY2011 from meagre amount of Rs2.4b of current revenue of this industry. The major leading obstacle to the growth of this sector is the lack of modern technology in mining, official said. Moreover, in order to curtail wastages and to produce export quality squared Granite and Marble blocks, the provincial government to set up 'Model Quarries in collaboration with the private sector enabling to enhance its share in economic growth. Introducing new technology and the adoption of modern method of quarrying and processing will improve the status of the sector as well as enable it to reach its full potential, official said and pointed out that the current practices in quarrying do not allow miners to achieve economic of scale and also produce value added products, through which they can attain larger profits. According to a senior official of Mines and Mineral Department of Sindh government, there are 1225 mines/quarries and 1500 processors in the country, which need to be upgraded and modernised to enhance quality, production, lower costs, increase value addition and increase local sales and exports on fast track basis. The potential exists to decrease wastage from current 85 per cent to 55 per cent by applying modern technology, however, the export of this sector will touch to $500 million dollars in FY2011, official remarked.