The federal government allocated funds amounting to Rs100 million, during the current fiscal year, to advance an ongoing project of the Petroleum Division for the geological mapping of 50 Toposheets of ‘outcrop area’ to identify minerals potential in Balochistan province.
Last year, an amount of Rs 30 million had been allocated for the project under the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP 2021-22).
“Under the project, 50 geological mappings of Toposheets of Outcrop Area, out of 354 unmapped Toposheets of Balochistan, are being carried out,” the state news agency said, quoting official documents.
“The geological maps provide a bird’s eye view of the surface and (subsurface) distribution of various types of rocks and economic minerals that are found in a particular region,” it said.
Through the mapping, the Geological Survey of Pakistan (GSP) wanted to maintain a database for future exploration of the occurrences of metallic and non-metallic minerals potential, dimension stones, aggregates and limestone reserves for the industry.
“These maps are essential for all future detailed geological works including, minerals’ exploration, civil engineering, soil surveys, land use, town planning, groundwater, earthquake hazards; environmental geology and soil conservation projects,” the GSP said in the project detail.
Worldwide experience suggests that geological maps of 1:50,000 scale provide the most useful information and meet the basic requirements of the majority of the demands, involving research in ‘stratigraphy’, structure & tectonics, sample collection for laboratory studies, mineral evaluation and identification of promising areas for further exploration of natural resources.
According to the official document, the total outcrop area of Balochistan is 335,360 square kilometres (524 Toposheets) out of which 108,800 square kilometres (170 Toposheets) have been mapped and published on a 1:50,000 scale and the maps are available.
The promising mineral potential outcrop area in Balochistan would be mapped under this project, following which its gained experience would be used in mapping the rest of the outcrop area.
“This project will help map the outcrop area in detail on a 1:50,000 scale and maintain a database for future exploration of the occurrences of metallic and non-metallic mineral potential, dimension stones, aggregates and limestone reserves for the industry in targeted potential areas of Balochistan,” the GSP said in the document.
For the last fiscal year, the GSP had set the target to fill the posts for the project, collect and review technical data, perform geological mapping of 16 Toposheets, measure 32 ‘stratigraphic’ sections, collect field rock samples, do chemical analysis and petrographic studies besides the digitization of geological maps.
The information collected after geological mapping and laboratory testing of rock samples would generate a database for interpretation to lead to individual occurrences of mineral reserves and other natural resources.
The studies would provide a platform for the exploration of mineral resources by using other geoscientific investigations like geophysical surveys and geochemical studies followed by drilling operations and contribute considerably towards the development of the mineral industry and mining sector.