The provincial government has decided to constitute a task force for developing the minerals sector of the province on modern lines, attract private sector investment and to make mining environment friendly, noting that its revenues had gone up by 51 per cent within a year.
This was decided during a meeting on Tuesday which was chaired by the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Chief Minister Mahmood Khan to review the performance of the Mineral Investment Facilitation Authority on Tuesday in the chair with Chief Minister Mahmood Khan.
The task force will include representatives from the Mines and Industries Department and the K-P Economic Zones Development and Management Company.
The meeting was briefed that despite the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, the K-P Mines and Mineral Development Department had generated a revenue of Rs3.25 billion during the outgoing financial year of 2019-20. This was more than the Rs2.1 billion generated as mineral royalty in the preceding financial year 2018-19. In this regard, the revenue collection target for the ongoing fiscal year 2020-21, was set at Rs6 billion.
A comparative analysis of the existing mineral royalty rates of all provinces was conducted during the meeting and it was decided to review the existing rates of mineral royalty in the province and to present recommendations for rationalising the existing royalty rates.
CM Mahmood directed officials to focus on the scientific and mechanised exploration of mineral resources, especially in the newly merged tribal districts. Moreover, it was decided that manual mining practices in vogue in the province will be discouraged while steps will be taken to make mining an environmentally-friendly activity.
He stressed the need for an effective and permanent mechanism of monitoring within the department to curb the activities of illegal mining across the province. The chief minister further directed senior officials of the authority to come up with workable proposals to this effect.
The meeting also reviewed the possibilities of inviting private investment in setting up mining plants and factories in the province to convert raw minerals into refined products at the local level.