Kashmir, one of the most beautiful regions in Pakistan is well-known for its lush green mountains and fertile lands. Tourists from all over the world are attracted towards Kashmir’s rich and diverse beauty.
The region doesn’t only possess the wealth of stunning allure but the lands are also rich with hidden gemstones worth up to half a billion dollars.
Experts believe that the gem reserves are good enough to create fortunes for the people sitting on top of a treasure chest but the poverty and lack of advanced machinery are preventing the community from harvesting these reserves waiting to be extracted. Huma Rizvi, a dealer in precious stones says,
We have rubies that are at least as good as the Burmese, but their mining techniques are more sophisticated.
According to a geological survey by the provincial executive, the region has proven to have reserves of more than 40 million grams of rubies and is expected to have at least 50 million grams. However, Kashmir has only one mine and only one exploration site – miners dig at an exploration site to analyze the potential of a location for the gems underneath.
The miners who harvest the precious minerals are constricted to using out of date methods of mining, such as causing explosions at the site. Even the federal authorities who administer the site don’t have funds to buy machinery and are unable to build mines – as informed by Shahid Ayub, director general of the Azad Kashmir Mine and Industry Development Company (AKMIDC). These medieval methods damage the minerals and make them lose their value.
Mining is done manually or by small blasts — and we lose 40 to 50 percent of the value of the stones. Due to lack of investment, we are not making the most of our resources.