Balochistan: A Land producing Gold
By Farhad Karim
Natural resources in the world possess a vital importance for the development and prosperity for any nations. No nation can achieve progress without being the heir of natural resources. God gifted Balochistan with precious minerals for instance gold, copper, gypsum, marble and many other valuable minerals which are the needs of present days of human for well-being. Balochistan is the second minerals producing center in universe and its minerals are first world class.
Balochistan has got well-known status in world because of its natural resources. Balochistan, being the largest natural resources producing centre in the Central Asia region preserving a geological importance. Baloch-istan is replete with lots of rich natural resources, thus the current situations of Balochistan is due to international great game players plunging their fingers in here mattes.
Here in Balochistan exist several precious natural resources and minerals, and I am going to spot light on these. The biggest and most precious minerals reservoir in Balochistan is Reqodik Project, which contains huge amount of gold and counted in world’s large natural reservoirs. Reko Diq is a small town in Chagai District, and situated from 70 kilometres in north-west Naukundi, close to Pakistani border with Iran and Afghanistan.
Details of Reqo Diq:
Reko Diq means sandy peak in Balochi language, and also it is the name of an ancient volcano. The Reko Diq Mining Project is a US $3.3 billion capital investment and produces the world first class copper-gold.
Reqo Diq produces approximately 600,000 tons of copper concentrate per year, which contains 28-31% copper and 7-22 g/ton gold, which translates to about 200,000 tons copper and 250,000 ounces of gold per year.
The mineral resources at Reko Diq are 5.9 billion tons with an average grade of 0.41% copper and 0.22 grams/ton gold. And also an annual production of 200,000 tons of copper and 250,000 ounces of gold, 600,000 tons of other minerals are obtained each year.
However, Reqo Diq project as said by the World Bank studies that Balochistan has the weakest and poor performance of all provinces in Pakistan. Balochistan contributes just over one-fifth to national mining GDP and leads only in the production of coal.
Pakistan fulfills its eighty percent economy from Balochistan’s natural resources and only fifty percent from Reqo Diq project. Pakistan gets such a huge amount from this project by exporting the gold, which is unimaginable. Because of Reqo Diq project Pakistan economy is being slightly escaped from bankruptcy.
In fact, Baloch are the primary stakeholders of rich with mineral Balochi-stan. The plight of Baloch is an ugly sign on forehead of state’s policymakers. The poverty in Balochistan is as high that 47 percent and the illiteracy ratio in Balochistan have scored on top in overall Pakistan’s populations. Poverty, plight, homeless, unemployment have hit Baloch nation awfully. According to the latest reports, females literacy is 16 percent (versus 32 percent for Pakistan), while maternal mortality is 600 per 100,000 live births (versus 350 for Pakistan). This needs to be replaced with economic opportunities, jobs, vocational training, access to health services, education etc.
The Balochistan provincial government needs to harness the immense natural assets of the province that include some 50 known minerals, vast rangelands area for livestock development, immense agricultural potential and a strategic coastline for capturing commercial sea-trade land-locked Central Asian Republics.
The Reqo Dik project is being run by a foreign based company, which is known as Tethyan Copper Company (TCC), and it has planned to invest over $3.3 billion in the development of the Reko Diq mine. The Reko Diq project was meant to be a mining project involving extraction and selling of the concentrate in markets around the world.
The Baloch mass, being the primary stakeholder of this huge invested project, remain deprived of the tremendous socio-economic gains. Balochistans’ public, who live in such a huge gold producing land but still they are deprived of prosperity even they are not getting two times bread properly.