Many mineral-rich countries have turned their natural wealth into their social and economic advantage yet many others have suffered from a so-called resource curse, reflected in sluggish economic growth, corruption, and other problems. Pakistan is one of the richest countries in nature-gifted minerals and resources. The province of Balochistan specifically has a lot of mineral spots which consist of natural gas, copper, petrol, coal, chromite and other rich entities. A majority of them are still untapped due to slow development in the past.

As far as CPEC is concerned, there is a new dawn of development all over Pakistan, especially in Balochistan, as it is the linchpin of this millennium project. The geopolitical location of Balochistan makes it worth thousand times more than it was before. The Petroleum and Natural Resources Division (PNRD) has decided to launch two mega projects for untapped coal reserves which will be worth approximately Rs.190 million. These projects will evaluate different localities, even the remote areas, for minerals and coals. They were planned after the PNRD carried out its survey for underground water in Quetta.

According to a press release, “Out of total Rs.190.033 million estimated cost, an amount of Rs.88.023 million has been allocated to carry out two new schemes for coal exploration and evaluation in Nosham and Bahlol areas of Balochistan, and the underground water survey”.

On an inquiring note, an official has stated that the PNRD will spend around Rs.554.291 million under the umbrella of the Public Sector Development Program (PSDP 2017-18). He further added that this amount will be utilized in four ongoing projects and two new projects in order to achieve the benchmark of self-reliance in the energy sector using these natural resources. Furthermore, he added that Rs.416 million will be used to buy four drilling rigs and their full components to make the Geological Survey of Pakistan more efficient. He also mentioned that an amount of Rs.38 million will be invested on newly discovered coal-rich lands in Badin.

It is pertinent to mention that funds of Rs.9 million will be spent on the evaluation of minerals and metals in the district of Lasbella, and Uthal. There is a dire need of exploration of minerals in such remote areas, as it could be the starting point of development over there.

Analyzing the projects and the amount of finances involved, it would not be wrong to assume that Balochistan is on the right path of development. The lack of clarity among the Sardars is now vanishing with time. These developmental projects play the role of catalysts in removing doubts of the people living in the landlocked areas. Exploration of such minerals will also have a positive effect on the growing economy of Pakistan. One mentionable achievement is that Pakistan is now producing geologists and geo-physicians from its own indigenous universities and is on its way to the second step, that is, getting the machinery as mentioned above.

In a nutshell, Pakistan will only gain self-reliance when it has indigenous capabilities including machinery and human resources. One question which arises in mind is will Pakistan be in those countries which make their resources a blessing for them or will it be cursed like the Riko Diq project which was a humiliation for Pakistan.


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