Ranthak Valley: A High Potential Prospect for Gold Mineralization in N.Pakistan

By Muhammad Yaqub Shah

Located 75 km east of Khaplo town (the district Head Quarters of Ghanche district, Gilgit- Baltistan Region, Pakistan), Ranthak is a small valley situated on the left side of Saltoro River about 10km downstream of Goma village (Entrance to Siachin Glacier) that may become a hub of mining activities for extraction of gold, other precious and base metals, after a continued successful mineral exploration based on modern scientific techniques.

So far, a regional geochemical exploration program, by taking -7mm, 20 liters sediment samples from the trapping sites of active rivers/streams beds, followed by preparing panned concentrate samples, and coupled with extracting minus 80# samples from the non-trapping site at the specific locations has been carried out in this locality. Collection of the samples was pre-planned designed on the premise of taking the desired samples from measured water catchment cell areas and subsequently analyzing these for a range of elements including gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc, cobalt, bismuth and nickel. The physical appearance of gold obtained in the pan and also the chemical analyses results, after standardizing these to 100 grams pan con weight, not only has shown anomalous values for gold and some associated elements but also has strongly indicated the existence of a nearby source rock mineralization in the area as well. The compiled results are shown as raw data in the table given below.

After reviewing the gathered data by taking in to consideration the regional geological set up (shown in the geological map given below), it was envisioned to look for and physically examine in the field, the so far very poorly studied, rocks of the ‘Shyoke Suture Zone’ which could prove as conduits for source rock mineralization of the precious and base metals in the region. It is worth mentioning here that quite a number of rock boulders, being typical constituents of Shyoke Suture Zone rock suits were already noticed in float rocks during the geochemical surveying program.

Thereafter consequent to a short field operation program conducted in the area resulted demarcation of 8 prospective gold and other precious minerals bearing targets in about 2.5km linear distance within the mélange zone of the Shyoke Suture Zone. Only one out of these prospects was randomly sampled from the surface outcrop along its width that has confirmed gold contents up to 24 grams/ton in these samples while other elements are yet to be analyzed. The Govt. of Pakistan did not allocate further financial support for continuation of the exploration activities resultantly the project has become to a halt.

Today the sustainable development of a country’s mineral resources is generally seen as a key factor in its economic growth and the search for mineral resources has become relied on establishing conceptual models through continuous use of modern state-of-the-art methods and technologies for mineral exploration. Examples include integrated image analysis, mineral mapping using hyperspectral remote sensing, quantitative modeling of mineral prospectively and such like others. Under these viewpoints, the Ranthak prospect specifically, and the Shyoke Suture Zone along with its reworked Main Karakoram Thrust as a whole (extending in the west for a linear distance of more than 300 km in Northern Pakistan) have the worth to be explored through these methods as its mélange zone to the west at several locations has already been established for hosting precious and base metals mineralization in the exposed rocks apart from demonstrating moderate to high anomalous values for these metals in other different places.

The contributor remained associated with the Pakistan Minerals Development Corporation. He is currently engaged as Member of Technology Foresight Export Panel by Pakistan Council for Science and Technology.  

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  1. Dear Mr. Muhammad Yaqub Shah, Thank you very much for your research of the identification of mineral deposits in the GB and the posts for the awareness of the GBinas!

  2. Although “a single straw of grass does not grow here”, neverthless, it seems that nature has abundantly cultivated gold, associated precious minerals and base metals in the mountains of this part of Gilgit-Baltistan. I wish this article attract attention of our competent decision makers and adopt a meaningfull  roadmap towards development of mineral industry in GB.

  3. Ranthak Gold and Silver presented here by Chief Geologist Yaqoob Shah was first time discovered during a course of more than 9 and half years of exploration Works for gold and precious base metals sponsored by Govt. of Pakistan (1992-2001) by considering the whole Northern Areas as Project area. The exploration strategy was introduced by Australia geologists Vs Check sampling —- Regional Exploration —- Detailed Exploration—- Follow up Exploration works. We have delineated the Ranthak Gold-Silver and precious metals prospect at the 4th stage during fallow up work. After its delineation 5 field tripe (15 to 25 days each trip) were carried out and stayed in field camps on site and collected hard rock samples / chip- channel samples and other geological data. The Prospect area situates at the northern suture zone MKT between Indian Plate and Eurasian Plate. Mother rock is quartz breccia intruded in the suture volcanic.
    In consequent of this exploration huge data have been collected by a team of more than 15 geologists. In mineral exploration it is a thumb rule that to prove/develop a mineral deposit one have to fallow 9 exploration stages but in our case we have completed 4 exploration stages successfully and delineated prospects. The then government did not continue exploration work and yet we could not enter in to 5th stage of exploration. The Project final report contain 4 volumes are still waiting for further fallow up works in the targeted areas to reach a gold deposit and to calculate its reserves in North Pakistan.
    I would like to suggest that Govt. of Pakistan should get experts opinion and make the exploration strategy to take the decision how to explore and utilize this national mineral wealth in Gilgit Baltistan area.
    From: (Abdullah Khan Geologist Ex. Gold Exploration Project Diamer Chilas)
    Sr. Geologist/ ARE-TECHINCAL (C2)
    Neelum Jhelum Consultants NJC
    [JV between MWH-Int, NORPLAN, NESPAK, ACE, & NDC]
    Cell: +923438950022.

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