ISLAMABAD :AJK President Sardar Masood Khan Wednesday said Azad Jammu and Kashmir was a treasure trove of minerals and precious stones but it required massive investment in infrastructure, modern machinery, training and craftsmanship to tap the full potential.The President made these remarks while talking to Chief Executive Officer of Pakistan Stone Development Company (PSDC) Zahid Maqsood Sheikh, who called on him, said a press release issued here.Masood Khan said initial geological surveys had indicated huge reserves of minerals and precious stones but due to the lack of resources and indifferent planning in the past “we have not been able to realize the full potential of these natural resources.”The President said there was proven reserves of marble, granite and other mineral resources including copper, gold, silver and coal, besides precious stones like rubies, sapphire and tourmaline. The AJK government, he said, was now focused on developing local expertise through skill development.The President said while at the moment the bulk of the industry was in the hands of the public sector, the way forward was public-private partnership. Zahid Maqsood Sheikh said the PSDC was keen to partner with the Azad Kashmir Mineral and Industries Corporation, as well as other stakeholders for development of the extractive industry in Azad Kashmir. “The emphasis”, he said, “will be on local ownership.”Masood Khan said while developing extractive industry, environmental factors and protection of the fragile eco-system must be given the highest priority. Mining industry must contribute to sustainable development.
Orignally published by APP