LAHORE - The Mines and Minerals Department has initiated a master plan to switch over from the traditional regulatory mode to a more facilitative, ease of business, investment attractive, sustainable, safe and mines workers welfare-oriented mineral sector.

In this connection, the department organised a seminar here Sunday. Provincial Minister for Mines and Minerals Latif Nazar chaired the event via video link, while Mines and Minerals Department’s Secretary Asadullah Faiz, Additional Secretary Ms Sara Ahmad Cheema, Deputy Secretary Aatika Ammar Bukhari and senior officers of the department also attended the seminar.

Mine and Minerals DG Syed Ishtiaq Hussain, who was also chief organiser of the seminar, explained that a concrete master plan for sustainable development of mineral sector was deliberated on the initiatives with focus on the following:

• Rationalisation of size of blocks and tenure of limestone/ordinary stone leases

• Uniform policy for grant of all mineral concessions through open auction under PMC Rules-2002.

• Revision of ordinary sand blocks/zones areas to larger sized areas within a district throughout Punjab.

• Revision of rates of sale price of sand and surface rent issues.

• Up-dating the PMC Rules-2002 or replacing with the proposed “ACT”.

• Establishment of machinery pool to facilitate mining sector.

• Mines labour welfare in health, group insurance and up-gradation of school/hospitals

• No more mining without scientific approach.

• Assurance of safe mining activities.

Detailed deliberations conducted amongst the stakeholders and arrived at unanimous communique on all the public beneficiary initiatives to bring a progressive mining sector as per government’s vision.

Updating the Punjab Mining Concession Rules 2002 and streamlining the policies thereunder would be the first step. The diligently provoked action plans would endeavour the new avenues of friendly mining business opportunities on more scientific lines and bring a sustainable development regime. Viable mineral bearing areas in shape of blocks and zones according to the nature of minerals would be granted as mineral concessions through a competitive and transparent bidding system.

Since mining is an investment intensive business but with huge returns; therefore, it requires a planned and systematic development, adequate mines safety as well as workers welfare.

In order to boost up the mineral sector development, the participants agreed that setting up a machinery pool and expert human resource providing technological and consultative services would also part of the plan.

They said that effective and efficient modes of facilitation in the far-flung hilly areas would be ensured so that the mineral based industries could be attracted, resulting in creation of huge employment opportunities.