The government has decided to build Pakistan’s first local iron-ore steel mill in Chiniot under the Punjab Mineral Company (PMC). The project will take two years to complete.
The establishment of the mill is at the top of the list of four potential projects to be funded under the recent Saudi agreement. Pakistan had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for economic cooperation in mineral resources. The MoU was part of the several $20 billion agreements signed on February 17, 2019.
The project has been announced by PMC Chairman, Dr. Samar Mubarakmand. “When the government informed us that Saudis are interested in investing in the mining sector, all the provinces came up with proposals. Punjab government presented the proposal drafted by PMC for steel mill to be set up in Chiniot,” says Mubarakmand.
The decision to select the projects came about in a meeting chaired by Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Coordination of Marketing and Development Resources, Shahzad Syed Qasim. According to the PMC chairman, the next step entails giving a detailed presentation of the project to the Saudi investors. The investors will also visit the site and inspect the facilities.
The presentation will be given by the Germans working on the project and the Pakistani officials. After the investment is confirmed, work will be started on the steel mill. Mining will be carried out while the steel mill is being set up.
Mubarakmand added that they have already engaged two international consulting firms through competitive bidding for the completion of the tasks as per best international practices. International companies have already verified the existence of iron ore in the area.
The steel mill is projected to have a capacity of 1 million ton. “The existing deposits of iron ore are enough to last for 50-60 years. Besides, the coal that would be used by the steel mill has also been measured by conducting a feasibility study,” he said.
Other projects selected by the government and to be accomplished with the Saudi investment include the development of metallic mineral resources in Chagai in Balochistan, coal gasification in Sindh’s Thar area, and Barite-Lead-Zinc project.