Press Releases 2010
U.S. to Boost FATA Marble Mining Industry
March 24, 2010
Peshawar - In a ceremony held today in Peshawar, U.S. Consul General E. Candace Putnam and North West Frontier Province (NWFP) Governor Owais Ghani announced a 187.6 million rupee ($2.23 million) agreement to provide a modern machinery pool for the marble miners of Bajaur and Mohmand agencies in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).
Despite vast resources estimated at three billion metric tons, antiquated methods of excavating the marble, such as blasting, result in a 70 percent product loss and damage the environment and the lifespan of the more than 500 mines in the area. The estimated marble production from Bajaur and Mohmand agencies is 1.7 million metric tons per year. With the new equipment, miners will produce an estimated 4.9 million tons per year, generating annual revenues of more than 80 billion rupees.
"This machinery will help miners excavate square blocks of marble that are 150 percent more valuable in the commercial market," Ms. Putnam said. "The increased value will naturally result in higher profits and jobs to revitalize the industry and the overall economy of the region."
The FATA Secretariat will utilize the technical expertise of Pakistan Stone Development Corporation (PASDEC) to procure and manage the machinery pool. The pool will allow quarries to rent machinery at low rates, which will help small players in the industry to make use of the modern mining techniques.
"This program will develop the marble industry of FATA in a sustainable way," Governor Ghani said. "It will not only improve value-added production in the economy, but also help build the skills of local marble mining firms in the long term.
The Pool is one among many U.S.-supported programs to strengthen business and industry in FATA through training and grants in the furniture, gems and jewelry, leather, and horticulture industries- part of an overall program of U.S. support to the people of FATA that also includes livelihoods and infrastructure, health, and education.