Exploration of boron can earn huge revenues for Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Boron is a widely used industrial product abundantly found in Pakistan. If properly explored and processed, deposits of boron are enough to fulfil domestic industrial needs.
In doing so, Pakistan will no longer need to spend its foreign exchange on this multipurpose large-scale manufacturing commodity.
In 2020, as the 63rd largest exporter of boron, Pakistan earned $732,000 and it was the 975th most exported product of the country. During the same year, it was also the 701st most imported product as well worth $2.71 million, while Pakistan was its 28th largest importer. Pakistan exported boron to Canada, Ethiopia, and Djibouti while importing it from China, Turkey, Peru, Chile, and the United States.
According to the State bank of Pakistan (SBP) record for the exports of the fiscal year 2020-21, Pakistan imported boron worth $10,000.
Boron is non-metallic. It does not appear in nature in elemental form, but is usually found combined with borax minerals. There are over 230 naturally found borate minerals i.e., tincal, kernite, colemanite, boracite, ulexite, pandermite, hydroboracite.
In a discussion with WealthPK about cerium deposits in Pakistan, Assistant Director of Geological Survey of Pakistan (GSP) Yasir Shaheen Khalil said boron minerals are mostly reported in the arid lakes of Chagai, Nagarparkar, Bahawalpur, Thar, and Cholistan deserts, etc.
“Boron is a widely used industrial element and its extraction, processing, and marketing must be focused seriously. Due to its vast industrial uses, indigenous sources and processing are very important,” he underlined.
The global boron market size is expected to grow at the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.01% by 2028. It was estimated by taking 2021 as the base year when it was worth $2,354.39 per metric ton.
Highly tensile but light-weighted boron and its compounds i.e., borax and boric oxide are also indispensable for many industrial and pharmaceutical products. Pure crystalline boron is black in colour, a lustrous semiconductor like a metal at high temperatures, and an insulator at low temperatures, used as a rocket fuel igniter, in jet fuels, quantum technologies, as neutron absorber in nuclear reactors, in microprocessors, camera chips for mobile phones, for green hue in pyrotechnic flares (boron carbide is more environment-friendly), shoe leather production, tile glazes, glass making, ceramics, fiberglass, flame retardant, borosilicate glass/heat resistant glass, boron steel, and fibre are used to craft aerospace structures, golf clubs, tennis rackets, bicycle frames, fishing rods, washing agents, water softener, cleansing fluid, insecticides, disinfectants, fertilizers, herbicides, etc. eye drops, mild antiseptics, mineral for health and hair growth, pain reliever, energy supplements, and treatment of osteoarthritis. Boron improves thinking skills, muscle coordination/building, testosterone levels, and the uptake of calcium-magnesium, Vitamin D, etc.
Boron is a natural wonder, and Pakistan is blessed with its sufficient quantities. But it must be processed/mined and explored at more places in the country. In this way, Pakistan can not only fulfil its domestic needs, but also export excess production to earn a handsome foreign exchange.