Marble, Granite sector can be transformed into cutting-edge stone industry
Marble and Granite industry of Pakistan can be transformed into a cutting-edge stone industry by adopting Chinese quarrying techniques.
It was observed by S.M. Naveed, President Pak China Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry during a meeting with Wang Zihai, Chairman PCJCCI China affairs. He pointed out that export quantum of marble and granite can be increased many folds by establishing marble Industrial parks in collaboration with China under CPEC to effectively utilize the valuable marble reserves of the country.
S.M. Naveed said that Industrial Parks will bring the cost effective cutting, blasting and finishing technology in Pakistan that will enhance the competitive edge of the industry. He told that all provinces in Pakistan had huge deposits of ornamental stones.Baluchistan has rich confirmed deposits of marble and granite in Khuzdar, Loralai, Lasbela and Chaghi districts, whereas in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Malakand, Mardan, Hazara, Peshawar and Kohat are the high-potential areas where quarrying and mining is already taking place, he added.
Identifying the major factors hindering the growth of Marble Industry in the country, he said the lack of quality production, inconsistent supply of raw material and scarcity of the modern technology were the factors, which needed government attention. He suggested to strengthen Pakistan Stone Development Company (PASDEC) to fill in the missing chains in marble industry. He told that the extraction in Pakistan mainly comprise 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. He informed that standard quarry wastage in the world is taken at 50% of the gross produce; however, in Pakistan this reaches up to 73%. According to S.M.Naveed, Wastage can be avoided by using latest wire-cutting technique and equipment, thus bright prospects of setting up joint ventures in the Marble Sector exist in Pakistan.
Escalating further about the policies and exemptions given by the Pakistani government to investors, S.M. Naveed told that Pakistani Government had abolished import duties on all quarrying and processing machinery to facilitate foreign investment, which is very encouraging and the local business community should upgrade their units by availing of this facility.
He said, global market for marble and granite was estimated at around $62 billion, but Pakistan’s share was below one percent, which is a cause of concern for the policymakers. He said with the support of government, marble industry has the potential to become the backbone of the economy and promote more exports than the share of textile products and urged that government should address marble industry issues on priority.
Mr. Wang Pledged to share this valuable information with the relevant counterparts in China. He said that he will discuss the proposal for transferring Marble Extraction technology from China to Pakistan that will be beneficial for both countries. Both Mr. Wang and S.M. Naveed jolted down multiple proposals for promoting model quarries / mining projects in line with the best international practices and the latest technology.
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