100 licences to be issued for exploring minerals in N.As

ISLAMABAD, March 26: More than 100 licences would be issued to national and international firms shortly for exploration of multi-billion dollars minerals including gold, copper, lead and coal besides precious stones in vast area in different districts of Northern Areas.
Talking to this agency, Deputy Director of Mines and Minerals Department Shahjehan said that Northern Areas were considered richest areas of the world as far as minerals and precious stones were concerned.Responding to a question, he said that more than 70 firms including foreign and local had already been issued licences for the exploration of mines. More licences would be issued after minor amendments in the existing rules, he said.

To a question about identification of gold mines in Northern Areas, he said that more than 11 sites of gold mines had already been identified in various parts of the Northern Areas.

About 15 firms including local and foreign are already busy in mining gold and copper in various areas which have been allo cated to them for this purpose, he said.

Regarding amendments in the rules, he said more than 100 applications pending with the department would be processed after amendments in rules.

The amendments proposed by the department were aimed at providing benefit to the local people.

When asked about proposed amendments, he said that these amendments would be minor having incentives for exploration companies besides providing benefit to the locals.

Procedure of issuing licences would also be made simple for promoting exploration of minerals in the area, he said.

According to proposed amendments, submission of monthly progress report to government with details of production of minerals will be made compulsory for companies, he said.

These amendments will also help in allocation of limited areas for exploration of specific minerals and stopping illegal mining of precious stones in various areas in all districts of Northern Areas, Shahjehan said.-APP

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