ISLAMABAD — Pakistan has 1,339.25 tonnes of gold reserves situated in Baluchistan province alone with 63.50 tonnes at Saindak and 1275.75 tonnes at Reko Diq, official sources said here yesterday. These two major gold reserves are situated in district Chaghai of the province.
The sources further said the Saindak Copper-Gold Project, Baluchistan is the only project in the country, which is producing gold/silver as a by-product in a normal quantity. The gold production was 7.891 tonnes and silver 11.293 tonnes during five years from 2005 to 2009.
Occurrence and showing of gold and silver had been reported from various parts of the country, including Baluchistan, Gilgit-Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. However, reserves of these occurrences had not been confirmed except in Saindak and Reko Diq.
In 2006, the production of gold was 1.410 tonnes, while silver was 2.403 tonnes, in 2007 gold was 1.576 tonnes and silver 2.136 tonnes, in 2008 gold was 1.542 tonnes and silver 2.088 tonnes, while in 2009, the gold production was 1.592 tonnes and silver 2.157 tonnes.
Pakistan also has rich copper resources, and according to estimates there are about 4.805 billion tonnes copper reserves of which majority are in Baluchistan and some nominal quantity in Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA) and Gilgit-Baltistan.
Baluchistan’s copper reserves consists of Saindak with 412 million tonnes, Reko Diq 3.720 billion tonnes, Dhasht-e-Kain 200 million tonnes, Ziarat Pir Suyltan 200 million tonnes, Kabul Koh 50 million tonnes, Missi 100 million tonnes and Bandegan 0.032 million tonnes.
About 123 million tonnes of copper reserves in FATA areas Boya, Shinkiari-North Waziristan have been found, the sources added. In Gilgit-Baltistan (Bulashgah, Gilgit) 0.5 million tonnes of copper reserves were discovered.
Officials in the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources said that feasibility studies have been conducted for copper-gold projects at Saindak and Reko Diq in the year 1988 and 2010, respectively. The Saindak project is in production since 2003.
Reko Diq deposit is in development phase and government of Baluchistan as regulator is processing application for conversion of exploration licence into long-term lease. At present, the officials said two foreign companies are working for the copper-gold deposits, MCC of China on Saindak Project and Tethyan Copper Company, joint venture of government of Baluchistan 25 per cent, Antofagasta-Chile 37.5 per cent and Barrick Gold-Canada 37.5 per cent on Reko Diq project.
The officials further said Saindak Copper Gold project is the only productive unit in the country. The government of Baluchistan receives royalty at the rate of five per cent of sale proceeds and 60 per cent share from Saindak Metals Limited/government of Pakistan.
Based on current production level, the annual revenue of the province from this project is estimated at Rs 1.300 billion. As per feasibility study, the life of mine of Reko Diq project is 56 years and estimated annual revenue of government of Baluchistan during the above period is $110.8 million, the officials maintained.
Private sector said that the geologists have estimated that Reko Diq contains mineral deposits worth $500 billion and if the authorities did not take action immediately, this golden opportunity of turning around Pakistan’s fate will be lost. — Internews