LAHORE   -  Despite various constraints due to Covid-19 pandemic, the Punjab Mines & Minerals Department showed excellent performance by recording 17 per cent increase in its revenues in fiscal year 2020-21 compared with the FY 2019-2020.

Punjab Mines & Minerals Department’s sources disclosed this to APP here Sunday. They said the department managed to collect a record non-tax revenue of Rs 10.19 billion in the FY 2020-21, compared to Rs 8.74 billion in FY 2019-20. The revenue included bid money, royalty, rent and fees, collected from the lease/ license holders.

Over the last three years, they added, the Punjab Mines & Minerals Department contributed a total of Rs 27 billion to the public exchequer in respect of non-tax revenues.

The department also lifted the ban on grant of mining concessions for cement and coal sectors with an objective to promote mineral sector and attract investment, an official said.

Since lifting the ban early this year, the department issued 17 NOCs (no objection certificates) for grant of exploration licences of limestone to the Punjab Industries Department. Similarly, 38 blocks of coal for grant through auctions have been prepared.

Being custodian of the natural mineral resources, the department took new initiatives for sustainable development of mineral sector in Punjab including Mining Cadastre System to ensure transparency and efficiency in the grant of mining concessions. This system had the Web-GIS data of mining concessions granted all over Punjab, infrastructure facilities in mining areas, potential geological information and investment opportunities available for mining sector in Punjab. This system also included the application management, allowing the investor to file and track the application for new mining concessions in a transparent manner, said the sources.

With the cooperation of the Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB), they said, the department had digitized its inspection regime for safety of mines workers as well as strengthening the field monitoring system by provision of officers, safety equipments, requisite training, besides strengthening of mine safety and rescue station, Mine Sample Testing Laboratory, and Punjab School of Mines.

Various steps had also been taken for potential evaluation of Gypsum, Bauxite, Coal etc. in Suleman Range District DG Khan, and exploration and evaluation of Placer Gold Deposits in River Indus in District Attock. The successful completion of these studies would promote investments in mining sector, they claimed.