PMDC provides a broad spectrum of opportunities for investors.
As a major mineral development agency, PMDC has conducted geochemical explorations and mining expeditions across Pakistan in order to seek untapped reserves.
In 2019, Pakistan imported 36,000 Tons of Potassium Chloride (KCL) and approximately 64,000 tons of Potassium Sulphate (SOP). The collective import value of both these products was PKR 6 billion or USD 34 million. Hence, the price parity between KCL and Rock salt in the market, encourages the exploration of Potash manufacturing at home. For instance, Khewra salt mine sells its salt at an average rate of USD 25 per Ton, while the imported KCL is purchased by Pakistan at an average price of USD 275 to 350 per Ton.
Rock salt mines at Khewra and Makrach, under the administration of PMDC are known to have significant quantities of Potash (KCL) concentration, as well. By using the procedure of wet chemical analytical techniques and XRF method, 5 chip samples of Khewra and Makrach salt mines for chemical analysis of potash rock have been carried out. Samples indicated minimum 2.99 wt % K2O and maximum 17.66 wt % K2O and its average grade is 12.532 wt % K2O.
Wet chemical analysis report of Khewra Mines potash samples indicates that samples contain minimum 3 wt % K, maximum 13 wt % K and its average grade is 9.8 wt % KXRF chemical analysis report of Makrach Mine’s potash samples indicates that samples contain minimum 7.91 wt % K2O, maximum 19.19 wt % K2O and its average grade is 14.966 wt % K2O Wet chemical analysis report of Makrach Mine’s potash samples indicates that samples contain minimum 7 wt % K and maximum 17 % K and its average grade is 12.2 wt % K.
Several credible studies have established that Raw Potash that is obtained from Khewra and Makrach Salt mines can potentially be converted into marketable products like Potassium Sulphate and KCL. A conservative resource estimation depicts that 2.4 million ton measured Potash ore occurs in Khewra Main Mine and lab studies indicate 13 wt % average grade of “K” (MOP and SOP). From 2015 to 2019, Pakistan imported MOP and SOP worth PKR 18 Billion or USD 108 million. Given their high demand in the local market, its huge production potential can be exploited by local companies. Considering daily production of 300 tons of Potash ore from Khewra Mine, mine life will be 27 years. Since the measured Potash Ore resources in these mines are 2.4 million tons. PMDC is determined to explore further opportunities for local manufacturing of Potash, in order to meet local demands of product and to seek suitable investors for joint corporation in this sector.
The Economic Survey of Pakistan depicts that production of Soda Ash has grown from 378,000 Tons in 2011 to 572,000 Tons in 2019. This works out to be a market development of 5% per year. Similarly, the Caustic Soda production also grew from *172,000 Tons in 2011 to 247,000 Tons in 2019, an annual increase of about 3%. Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) is a major producer of Soda Ash with the production of 425,000 Tons on an annual basis. Olympia Chemicals and Sitara Chemicals are equally significant producers of Soda Ash. While, Sitara and NIMER Chemicals also produce Caustic Soda. Due to varied applications of Soda Ash and Caustic Soda in Chemicals, paper, glass, textile industries. Its demand is only expected to grow further along with the economic activity. PMDC is also studying the business opportunities of an integrated Soda ash and Caustic Soda manufacturing facility based on its Rock Salt Mines, in Khewra, Waracha or Kalabagh. The estimated cost of a 50,000 Tons per annum production plant is PKR 7-9 Billion or ~USD 50 Million, according to vague calculations. However, the costs will be firmed up after the feasibility study.
PMDC is already exploring and working on Duddar Lead-Zinc Project as a joint venture with MCC in Balochistan. Initial prospecting and exploration studies for Duddar Lead-Zinc project had been carried out by PMDC in support of UNDP, Geological Survey of Pakistan and PASMINCO. PMDC has also conducted exploration work on Waziristan Copper project as it can offer technical expertise in prospecting, exploration, development, exploitation and marketing services in metallic mineral projects of Pakistan. PMDC offers plausible collaboration to local and foreign companies to work in joint ventures on metallic mineral resources of Pakistan.
Gold & Base Metal Geochemical Exploration
PMDC carried out stream sediments based geochemical exploration as an executing agency in the Northern Areas of Pakistan. The Project was started in January 1992 implemented with the assistance of AusAID. Geochemical sampling has covered about 50% of the total area. A total number of 4,208 stream sediment samples have been collected out of which 2,380 samples have been chemically analyzed for eight elements. By the end of December 2000, the Project has invested a total amount of Rs.64.216 million. Chemical analysis of both panned concentrate and -80 mesh samples have yielded the following results both panned concentrate and -80 mesh samples have yielded the following results
No. of Anomalies
Encouraged with the results generated under this Project M/s Minorco carried out further work by analyzing 32 elements on 2600 duplicate samples and has confirmed 586 anomalies including 97 of gold. During the year 1999-2000 the Project concentrated in locating gold mother rocks. Their hectic work has identified at least five localities with the following gold values:
Gold Values (ppm)
0.2 to 24.0
0.1 to 1.2
0.24 to 1.5
0.15 to 0.24
0.11 to 3.01
Ultra Refined Crystalline Salt (PVD Salt)
Ultra Refined crystalline salt is not produced in Pakistan however, there is a good market in the elite society both in Pakistan as well as in the nearby Middle East countries. Our Warcha Salt Mines are producing about 200,000 tons of rock salt annually. Resources are sufficient to double this production. Plant with 150,000 tons of PVD (Pure Vacuum Dried) salt is considered to be a good rationale target to meet the demand for both local and foreign customers. Its potential investment is about US$40 million.
Smokeless Coal Briquetting Plant for Balochistan
Total coal resources of the country stand about 186 billion tons, a large chunk of which is located in Sindh. JICA carried out feasibility studies and suggested to install a 50,000 tons capacity plant at the initial stage later on up-graded into a 300,000 tons capacity plant. For the production of one ton of coal briquettes the following raw material will be used:
Light Fuel Oil
Fuel Lakhra Coal
PMDC has 38 million tons of coal in its own lease with the annual production capacity of 300,000 tons. Planned production can be increased if coal briquetting plants are designed on available resources. PMDC is also equipped with sufficient experience of operating a briquetting plant at Quetta.
Coal for Small Power Plants