LAHORE: The Pak-China Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCJCCI) here Wednesday called for adopting Chinese quarrying techniques for marble and granite extraction so as transform a cutting-edge stone industry in Pakistan.
PCJCCI President SM Naveed suggested this in with Mr Wang Zihai, Chairman PCJCCI China affairs. He pointed out that export quantum of marble and granite could be increased many folds by establishing marble industrial parks in collaboration with China under CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor) to effectively utilize the valuable marble reserves of the country.
SM Naveed was of the view that industrial parks would bring the cost-effective cutting, blasting and finishing technology in Pakistan that would enhance competitive edge of the industry. All provinces of Pakistan, he added, had huge deposits of ornamental stones, citing that Baluchistan had rich confirmed deposits of marble and granite in Khuzdar, Loralai, Lasbela and Chaghi districts, whereas, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Malakand, Mardan, Hazara, Peshawar, and Kohat were the high-potential areas where quarrying and mining were already taking place. However, lack of quality production, the inconsistent supply of raw material and scarcity of modern technology were the factors, which needed government’s attention, he mentioned and called for strengthening Pakistan Stone Development Company (PASDEC) to fill in the missing chains in marble industry.
He said that the extraction in Pakistan mainly comprises boring of holes in the bedrock, filled with explosives to blast the block, resulting not only in high wastage but also in smaller sized stone, substantially reducing the price. Standard quarry wastage in the world was taken at 50 percent of the gross produce; however, in Pakistan, this reached up to 73 percent. “Wastage can be avoided by using latest wire-cutting technique and equipment, thus bright prospects of setting up joint ventures in the Marble Sector existed in Pakistan, he said.
He said, the global market for marble and granite was estimated at around $ 62 billion but Pakistan’s share was below one percent, which was a cause of concern for the policymakers. With the support of government, he said, marble industry had the potential to become the backbone of the economy and promote more exports than the share of textile products and urged government to address marble industry issues on priority.
Mr. Wang pledged to share this valuable information with relevant counterparts in China, adding that he would discuss the proposal for transferring marble extraction technology from China to Pakistan that would be beneficial for both countries.
Both Mr. Wang and S.M. Naveed discussed multiple proposals for promoting model quarries/mining projects in line with the best international practices and latest technology. They urged the government to establish Model Marble Cities all over Pakistan, incorporating the Training and Research Centers with state-of-the-art processing technology, engineering units, and warehousing facility through PASDEC.