Carving out a Marble City
Pakistan is endowed with vast deposits of marble of very fine quality. Geologists and mining experts believe that more than 160 million tonnes of such deposits exist in the country. Some 97 percent of these reserves lie in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa while the remaining in different locations in Balochistan. The Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) also have substantial deposits that are being mined as organized enterprises.
It is worthwhile to note that public-private dialogue and coordination in the marble and granite industry of Pakistan has improved notably. There have been significant policy changes to break down the barriers for the acquisition and investment in advanced machinery and equipment to upgrade production and processing facilities. Further, in the framework of Pakistan Stone Development Company (PASDEC), Pakistan Initiative for Strategic Development and Competitiveness (PISDAC), SMEDA and TDAP, and public and private stakeholders are continuing to enhance the sector’s competitiveness.
Keeping in view the success of economic zones and industrial estates in developing specific sectors, both in the developed and newly industrialized countries, it has been decided to apply the same strategy to uplift the marble and granite sector in Sindh.
The process of setting up a modern marble city has been initiated on 300 acres of land, which will house more than 200 processing plants. Sindh Stone Development Company, a joint venture between public and private sectors, has taken up the task of mining, processing, value addition and export of marble and other stones in the province. Zubair Motiwala, Chairman of Sindh Board of Investment, is the chairman of the company while provincial ministers for industries, investment and mining are its members.
The identified components of the project are: coastal management, community development, institutional strengthening of the Sindh Coastal Development Authority (SCDA) and project management while the implementing agencies are the wildlife and forest department, livestock and fisheries department, district governments of Thatta and Badin, the National Rural Support Programme (NRSP) and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
The Sindh government has earmarked Rs. 50 million for the project, of which Rs. 3.5 million has been spent on the purchase of land while the rest will go • •
• • • Value addition to stone mineral resources of Sindh and Baluchistan. Better jobs in terms of working conditions and income resulting from improved skills imparted by training. Increased direct and secondary job creation, supporting poverty alleviation in the region. Enhanced exports of marble and other stones. Waste reduction and increased productivity in stone sector. towards preparing the master plan and laying the infrastructure.
For the successful running of the marble city, the private sector is believed to play an important role. The formulated procedures assure a transparent allotment of plots to real investors only, while a vigilant structure has been created to cancel the allotment to those investors who fail to install plants in the stipulated time period.
The Marble City project has a tremendous investment and growth potential for entrepreneurs who have the capability of bringing in high end technology, innovation and services. The concept is based on a cutting edge stone technology, custom facilities and state of the art services to create one of the largest and technologically advanced industrial parks for Dimension Stone (Marble and Granite) in Karachi.
The Sindh government will do well to ensure that the venture moves on beyond the laying of the foundation stone. According to Sanaullah Khan, Chairman, Marble Industries Association and Director, Sindh Stone Development Company, marble exports have been highlighted as a hugely profitable sub-sector with expected volumes of $1 billion in the next two to three years