Pakistan is not only blessed with the large reserves of gold, copper, petrol and other mineral ores, but also of the world’s most-glittering gemstones. However, it requires a workable policy to benefit from the natural resources which are mostly lying unattended across the country. On another note, no serious attempt has been made to ensure maximum utility of the minerals which are being excavated in parts of the country, including gold, coal and gem reserves. The successive governments have failed to provide upfront tax incentives, develop technology to make better use of mineral deposits, and focus on the manufacturing of the finished products from the natural raw material. The government agencies, which are responsible for exploration and excavation of the previous minerals, have become victim of lethargy and inaction as the vacancies are filled on political grounds and the officials are more interested in salaries and perks than fulfilling their national obligations. A country rich in mineral resources is cash starved and poor in every sense from education to technology and from living standard to health facilities. It appears the element of policy and planning is missing in the government priorities. Sitting on the precious stones and mineral deposits, the government is running from pillar to post to get peanuts in aid.
According to experts, a wide-range of minerals, including gold, gemstones, coal and petrol, are scattered across the country. The government has so far failed to attract foreign investment in any of the mineral sectors. In case any deal is made with a foreign company, it is allegedly impregnated with corruption as is the case of RekoDiq mine which has one of the largest copper and gold reserve in Pakistan and in the world having estimated reserves of 5.9 billion tonnes of the ore and has gold reserves amounting to 41.5 million oz.As a matter of fact, the country is not fully surveyed to ascertain the exact volume and size of mineral resources and little attention has been given to develop indigenous exploration and excavation technology. There are reports of vast petrol reserves on seashore near Karachi and in parts of Balochistan near the Iranian border, but not even a survey has been conducted. The contract of Riko Diq mine has been given to foreign companies at throwaway prices. When the base is wrong, how the things will move forward on a positive note. The coal mine power project is another story of mismanagement and corruption. It is hoped that sanity will prevail and the present leadership will do a best job for the cause and welfare of the nation.