The search for gold on the banks of river Gilgit

Meraj Alam 

It is said that gold flows in the rivers of Gilgit-Baltistan. And, it is not wrong, because hundreds of families have been gathering gold from the rivers since times immemorial. The process of separating gold from the soil is ancient and involves lots of hardwork. However, the work eventually pays off.

“I get 15000 every day to collect Gold from the Gilgit river,” a 36 years old gold gatherer named Amir said.

He is a member of the Sonewal tribe, who have learnt and improved the art and science of gathering gold. Families of the Sonewal tribe can be seen camped in different areas of Gilgit-Baltistan at river bansk, where they stay for months collecting gold. The processes involved in collecting gold is tiresome, and many a time the gold gatherers are unable to get what they would like to get.

Search for Gold (8)
Multiple filtration processes are involved
Search for Gold (4)
The central goal is to separate gold from the soil
Search for Gold (2)
Many hands at work
Search for Gold (1)
The utensils have been ingenuously developed
Some traces of gold finally
Some traces of gold finally
But, the process is not over yet
But, the process is not over yet

“There’s a lot of potential in the region. Many surveys have confirmed the presence of gold and other elements,”, said Anwar Ali, the Director of Minerals Department of Gilgit-Batlsitan. He said that there’s a need to invest in exploration under the supervision of the government to ensure that the locals are able to benefit. “

Anwar Ali, Director Minerals Department
Anwar Ali, Director Minerals Department

“As per surveys conducted for gold and base metals carried by Pakistan Mineral Development Corporation (PMDC) and on the basis of Geo-chemical and hard rock samples, around 11 prospect areas have confirmed gold value ranging from 0.10 to 24 Parts Per Million (PPM) in hard rock”, Anwar said, adding that 5 PPM gold is economical in the world. He also said that around Rs. 500 million worth of gemstones are being extracted annually from Gilgit-Baltistan and efforts are underway to explore other precious minerals.

The area is also rich with white color Marble deposits of Shigar (Skardu), Nasirabad (Hunza) and Gupis (Ghizer) which are considered to be of international quality.

The other gemstones which are extracted from the area include Ruby, Emerald, Sapphire, Aquamarine,Tourmaline, Garnet, Fluorite, Pargasite, Spinal, Zircon, Topaz, Berylspar, Corundum, Marganite, Serpentine, Sulpher, Moonstone, and Amethyst, he added.

Gilgit-Baltistan government submitted a project its cast 10 million in federal government ofPakistan for approval. After the approval of this important project, Mineral department G-B Will work the Gold and minerals deposits of Gilgit-Baltistan.

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