Pakistan has considerable deposits of non-metallic minerals, including rock salt, gypsum, china clay, limestone and marble. Metallic minerals found in some quantity are chromite, antimony, and iron ore.
Iron ore deposits occur at many localities. The more important are as such:
KALABAGH: iron ore occurs near Kalabagh in the Surghar Range and near Sakesar in the Salt Range. They are the largest deposits in Pakistan, but the ore is of low grade (30-35 percent iron) and of irregular composition, broadly classified into two main types, Chichali and Kutch. Reserves are estimated about 300 million tons.
DOMMEL NISAR : Magnetite deposits in southern Chitral, about 20 miles south of Drosh, have an iron content of 55-65 percent. The ore occurs in lenticular bodies and reserves are estimated at 3 million tons.
LANGRIAL, GALDANIAN AND ABBOTABAD ore. Langrial iron deposits are in the vicinity of Langrial village in Haripur tehsil, about 20 miles south of Abbottabad. The area is highly folded and faulted, and the ferruginous beds occur discontinuously. The iron content varies widely between 9 and 50 percent. The Galdanian deposits, about 10 miles north-east of Abbottabad, have an average iron content of 20 percent. The Abbottabad deposits occur on the eastern side of the city. Iron content varies from 14-46 percent. Total reserves in Hazara District are estimated to be more than 100 million tons.
CHILGHAZI : magnetite deposits of various magnitudes have been discovered in Chagai District, near Dalbandin. Reserves of high grade ore (55 percent iron or more) are estimated over 3 million tons, and of low grade ore (25-30 percent iron) at 20 million tons.
Large deposits of chromite occur in the Hindubagh area of the Zhob valley. These are the best known of the chromite deposits in Pakistan, and have been extensively exploited. Most of the producing mines are in Jang Torgarh and Khanozai. Other deposits are in Chagai and Kharan, along the flanks of the Ras Koh Range, and north of Hari Chand village in Charsadda District.
Chromium is used in making stainless steel, high speed tools and precision instruments, dyes, and in photography. Total production, almost all of which is exported, amounted to 27,300 tons in 1970/1.
Rock Salt and Brine
All the rock salt deposits in Pakistan occur in the Salt Range, and particularly at the base of the Salt Range escarpment, from Junate to Mari Indus. The most important mines are in Khewra, Warcha, Kalabagh and Jatta.
KHEWRA is the most extensively worked area with seams attaining a thickness of as much as 60 ft. Khewra is the terminus of the Makarwal branch of the Pakistan Railway. The deposits have been worked since 1872. Present production is 220,000 tons a year.
WARCHA is 10 miles north-west of Gunjital railway station. The mine has five seams, with a maximum thickness of 50 ft., and produces 40,000-45,000 tons a year.
KALABAGH salt deposits are located on the right bank of Luni Wahan nullah. The seams are irregular and contorted and production is small.
JATTA, BAHADURKHEL AND KARAK salt deposits are located in the trans-Indus extension of the Salt Range. The thickness of the rock salt in the Bahadurkhel area is 350 ft. while in Jatta and Karak, it is over 100 ft. Production from this area almost equals that of the Warcha mines. The reserves, however, are thought to be very large.
Salt is also obtained from brine and salt lakes, but the amount obtained from these sources is relatively small compared with that of rock salt (344,000 tons in 1970/7). Salt is harvested in the Tharparkar area of Sind, where a 6-foot layer of salt covers an extensive area, and obtained by evaporating sea-water at Mauripur, near Karachi, and along the Makran and Lasbela coasts. Large deposits of concentrated brine have been discovered at Dharyala near Khewra. Various chemicals and fertilizers may be manufactured from this brine at a potash factory proposed for Dharyala.
Gypsum deposits occur frequently in the western mountains of Pakistan. Those at Khewra, Dandot and Kaudkhel are the best known. The deposits vary in thickness and colour. Light grey to white and reddish pink are most common. Total production amounts to 164,000 tons. Gypsum is used in the manufacture of cement, plaster of Paris, fertilizers, and prefabricated construction board.
Limestone deposits constitute a large part of the sedimentary rocks of Pakistan. Although limestone is widespread, some areas have more concentrated deposits. These include Pezu, Moghalkot, Kohat, and Nowshera in N.W.F.P.; Loralai and Harnai in Baluchistan; the Salt Range, Potwar Plateau, Margalla Hills, and Zinda Pir (D. I. Khan) in the Punjab; Ganjo Takkar, Murli Hills, Mango Pir, Cape Monze, Kot Diji and Ranipir in Sindh. Big quarries are located in the trans-Indus Salt Range at Daudkhel and in the lower Indus Plain near Hyderabad. Total annual production is about 3 million tons. Lime is the main ingredient of cement and is also used by glass factories and chemical industries.
Good quality marble in a wide range of colours is found in many parts of Pakistan. The best known deposits are in the Mullagori area of Khyber Agency, at Ghundari and Maneri in Mardan District, at Nowshera, in Swat, and in the Dalbandin area of Chagai District. Valuable deposits also exist in Campbellpur (now Attock) District in the Kala-Chitta range and in Sheikhu Jenan Hill, and in Muzaffarabad and Mirpur, Azad Kashmir.
The Khyber Agency deposits occur at two places on the Peshawar-Mullagori road. The workable marble is in the lower section of the quarry and is over 100 ft. thick. There are bands of white, grey, yellow, and brown marble. The white marble compares well with the world-famous marbles of Carrara, Italy. The Ghundai Tarko marble deposits occur at the boundary of Swabi, Mardan District and Swat. The marble is white, crystalline, and of uniform texture. The Maneri Hills of Swabi tehsil contain white marble with grey patches. Numerous joints and fractures make it difficult to obtain blocks larger than one cubic ft. and this marble is used for chips. In central and western Chagai District, there are vast float terraces of marble. The marble is known locally as malmal, but its correct name is aragonite. Production is handicapped by acute problems of transportation and water shortage.
Marble is one of the principal foreign-exchange earning minerals. Production was 26,000 tons in 1970/1.
China Clay (Kaolin), Antimony and lesser Minerals
Kaolin Deposits occur in Nagar Parkar, in Tharparkar District, Ahl in Hazara District and Shah Deri near Mingora in Swat. Antimony is mined in small quantities (33 tons a year) at the Kamalgol mines in Chitral. Traces of radio-active minerals have been found in N.W.F.P., and D. G. Khan district. Asbestos is found north of Hindubagh, sulphur in Kohi Sultan, Chagai District, bauxite in Hazara, and manganese in Lasbela and Kohat.