Govt enacts the first-ever Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mineral Act- Anisa Zeb

Peshawar: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Minister for Mines and Mineral Development and Labour, Anisa Zeb Tahirkheli has said on Thursday that the provincial government will soon enact the first-ever Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mineral Act, after the proper consultation of relevant stakeholders.

“We are not going to pass any law in hast, but there should be formally consultation on the proposed draft of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mineral Act before its proper endorsement by the provincial legislative assembly, the Minister said while speaking at oath taking ceremony of Frontier Mine Owners Association Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (FMOA-KP), held at press club here.

She said the legislation was mandatory in all provincial departments following the passage of the 18th constitutional amendments. She said the promulgation of KP Mineral Act was part of legislation process, which could be proved more congenial and concrete for development of mineral sector in KP.

Regarding the charter of demand of FMOA KP, the Minister said the government would take all possible steps for resolution of their genuine demands and problems. However, she expressed the hope that the mine owners would also extend support and cooperation for development of mine and mineral sector in the province.

She acknowledged that the mining sector is lacking required workforce and staff, whereas primitive mining methods were being used in excavation and exploration of reserves. “We are introducing scientific methodology and modern techniques for proper measurement, and excavation to untapped the natural mine and mineral resources”, the Minister said. She said the surveillance and monitoring is another major function to ensure safe and protective mining process.

The Minister warned that government will not allow any illegal mining in the province. “We will take stern action according to law, against those people that were indulged in illegal practice”, she maintained. She said the department utmost duty to extend maximum facilitation services to mine owners, and stakeholders for development of mining sector. She expressed the hope that mine owners will fully cooperate with government in prevention of illegal mining in the province.

She assured all pending cases and problems of mine owners, will be resolved, besides, there would not used any delaying tactics in issuance of explosive permits to them. “We are heading towards mechanized, phased-wise blasting process, which aimed to ensure safety and make the process more protective during blasting in mining exploration process, the Minister said. She called upon the mine owners to play their due role in reactivation of closed mines in the province.

The Minister said government target is to enhance current revenue of Rs.3billion to Rs.5billion, from the mining sector, whereas steps would be taken to increase labour force, attached with the sector, which is currently 100,000 that will increase to 150,000. She said the foreign investors are keen to invest in mine and mineral sector, as it is testimony that a representative of Chinese company participated in the event, and assured the government will fully facilitate the foreign and local investors, working in mining sector.

She said the government is also working for strengthening the training programs for mining labourers, and staff members, aimed to make the process of mining more secure, protective and effective as per modern techniques and methods.

Earlier, the Minister administrated oath from newly elected cabinet of Frontier Mine Owners Association Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. On the occasion, she also distributed shields among the members of the association.

FMOA-KP president Sher Bandi Khan, earlier in his welcome speech said that if their demands were fulfilled, it would definitely increase employment from 30,000 to one lac and revenue as well from Rs7.5million to Rs3billion with two years.

The demands, he informed that as long as a common man related to mining sector played his role in discovery level, the sector kept on developing but when attempt was made to stop the person, it started to descend along with the people associated with the sector. He added all decisions were made on merit about Grant Renewal, reduction was made 70 percent in appeals and those all were due to representation of mine owners and after setting aside their representation, the mine owners are looking justice.

He further said that due to interference of the land owners in mining operation and their illegal demands had put mining sector of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) at verge of destruction and about 80 percent leases are closed. Therefore, a clear-cut formula be made between land and mine owners and a magistrate be appointed for the implementation of it while the magistrate also prevent illegal mining.

To ensure protection to investors in rules and regulations and to take them (Investors) into confidence in Prospecting License and Mining Lease (PL&ML) because such way of mining is applied in the entire world, he continued and added a formula also be devised that how to get license of ammunition and quantity in using mining operation and power of issuing license in this regard be withdrawn from Deputy Commissioner (DC) and delegate to inspectorate of mines so that it is easy for the lease holders to get license.

It is necessary for the mineral department to stop interference of all departments in the mining operation particularly of forest department, local government and police, who cancel the license because a pity mistake running project because when a running project closes, it take hundred of thousands amount to restart, he said.

He maintained that tax based on injustice be abolished particularly annual rent, which is not applied in all other provinces of the country and it would have to be rationalized, adding that a clear policy regarding tax be included in rules and regulations. He said instead of guarantee, affidavit be taken from the mine owners and if their failed to complete mining in the leased area, their license be cancelled.