Islamabad - The Minerals Development Department, Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has granted 226 exploration licenses and mining leases to private companies and investors for various minerals in Malakand Division including nine prospecting licenses and eight mining leases for granite.Malakand Division has known potential of various minerals like granite, marble, limestone, dolomite, soapstone, slate stone, emerald, chromite and iron ore, official sources told APP, here.Geological Survey of Pakistan (GSP), Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources has already published geological maps for Malakand Division, the official added. Pakistan Stone Development Company (PASDEC) established under Ministry of Industries & Production is working for value-addition in marble and granite (dimension stones) sector by introducing mechanized working on international lines. Under a PSDP Scheme, this Company has already implemented Model Quarry projects for marble in Bampokha (Buner) and Chitral areas and Marble Quarry Upcgradations at Torwarsak and Salarzai (Buner), the official said, adding another Model Quarry Upgradation project has been allocated for Shangla area.He said the duration of prospecting and exploration licenses is spread over 2-5 years and 3-9 years, respectively. Some mining companies/lease holders are at the advanced stage of mining and processing, he added. “These companies have generated economic activities in the far-flung areas of the country by providing jobs to hundreds of locals besides earning considerable foreign exchange”.