Islamabad, 2 Aug, 2023 (GNP): Pakistan’s Army Chief General Syed Asim Munir and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif emphasized the significance of foreign investors in realizing the immense potential of Pakistan’s estimated $6 trillion worth of natural reserves while addressing Pakistan’s first dedicated summit on minerals. The summit witnessed a large number of foreign investors, diplomats, and international dignitaries.
The event was organized under the auspices of the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC), established by Pakistan in June to attract foreign investment. The army plays a crucial role in the council and will be actively involved in all projects under the new framework.
“Our vision for the mining industry goes beyond financial gains,” Munir said, assuring foreign investors that the federal and provincial governments, as well as Pakistan’s security forces, were all “on the same page” in terms of providing safe investment opportunities.
General Munir assured foreign investors that their role in the mining and mineral projects would be integral, and their investments would be safeguarded under the SIFC. The country aims to establish an investor-friendly system to streamline operations and foster a conducive environment for investment.
The past saw hurdles in developing mining projects, with a joint venture being blocked by Pakistan’s Supreme Court for Reko Diq, one of the world’s largest untapped copper and gold deposits. The subsequent international arbitration ordered Pakistan to pay $5.8 billion in damages. The dispute was finally resolved last year when Barrick Gold ended the conflict and announced that it would begin developing the gold and copper mining projects under a new agreement.
Despite challenges posed by militants and separatist rebels in mineral-rich regions like Balochistan and the country’s northwest, Pakistan is keen on exploring vast opportunities through joint efforts.
While addressing the ceremony, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif urged Pakistan to learn from its past experiences and take inspiration from Middle Eastern states like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which have built strong economies by harnessing their mineral resources.
On the occasion, Saudi Vice Minister for Mining Affairs, Engineer Khalid bin Saleh Al-Mudafiq expressed the Kingdom’s desire to foster responsible mineral value chains in Pakistan. He called for collaboration to unlock the full potential of the minerals sector in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the region, paving the way for economic prosperity and sustainable development.
“Let us unite our efforts to harness the full potential of Pakistan’s, Saudi Arabia’s, and the region’s mineral sector,” the minister said.