Through the 1980s, development of mining was discouraged by the absence of venture capital and the limited demand for many minerals from domestic industries. The slow development of mining was due in part to the remoteness of the areas where most minerals are found, which adds greatly to the costs of exploration, production, and transportation. Moreover, some of these areas have a poor reputation for law and order. By the early 1990s, mining was of little importance to the economy, despite the presence of fairly extensive mineral resources. Foreign companies have been invited to bid for concessions for mineral extraction.
Minerals include antimony, bauxite, chromite, copper, gypsum, iron ore, limestone, magnesite, marble, molybdenum, rock salt, and sulfur. Much of the mineral wealth is found in Balochistan. In FY 1992, mineral production included 8.5 million tons of limestone, 833,000 tons of rock salt, 471,000 tons of gypsum, and 6,333 tons of magnesite. Some iron-ore deposits are of good enough quality for use in the country's steel plant, but in FY 1992 production was only 937,000 tons.
The Saindak Integrated Mineral Project, managed by the stateowned Resource Development Corporation, was developed in the 1980s and early 1990s, but in 1993 there were as yet few results. Located in Balochistan, the project area contains three separate large deposits of copper ore, gold, iron ore, molybdenum, silver, and sulfur.
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