Limestone deposits promise economic, industrial boom

ISLAMABAD: Huge deposits of limestone are scattered across the length and breadth of Pakistan. A plan at the government level is needed for proper processing and export of different lime products to offshore markets after value addition.
Principal Geo-scientist at the Global Mining Company Islamabad and former general manager geology at the Pakistan Mineral Development Corporation (PMDC) Muhammad Yaqoob Shah said, “Limestone is a type of carbonate sedimentary rock – the main source of lime material composed of calcite and aragonite.
Limestone forms due to their precipitation out of water containing calcium. A proper framework is direly needed to benefit from every mining reserve and mined minerals.
Proper processing from refining to ready-to-use material is another great plan, yet to be made.
Pakistan is endowed with a variety of industrial and strategic minerals, but lack of coordination among the government departments and public-private partnerships retards the growth of this sector.
Limestone is commonly found in the country in sizeable quantities, but it is imported.This situation must be checked and the available sources should be mined properly,’’ he added.
Yaqoob Shah is also a member of the National Council for Marble & Granite and Minerals.
Limestone is used in a variety of industrial products, including plastic, steel, cement, water treatment products, glass, paper, textile materials, paint, varnish, detergents, soaps, cosmetics, bleach, leather tanning, toothpaste, pesticides, anti-bacterial agents, baking powder, gelatine, and pharmaceutical products, such as milk of magnesia, soda bicarbonate, etc. Finely ground forms are used to control coal mine dust, neutralize acid mine drainage, and iron ore smelting. It is also used to remove sulfur from the power plants exhaust. In the agriculture sector, it is used as an ingredient in animal feed and fertilizers as well as to refine beet sugar.
The global limestone market is projected to grow to US$97.79 billion at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.3% by the year 2032 from US$69.16 billion in 2022.
In 2021, Pakistan exported limestone worth US$492.68594 million, which could benefit its own industry as an ingredient or raw material for industrial production. In the same year, limestone exports in raw or value-added form were US$9.7853 million. Vast deposits of limestone found in Pakistan can benefit its economy in the long run from exploration to finished or value-added form. A revolution in the mineral sector can be brought only by reframing the policies and using the available mineral sources wisely. All provincial and federal level authorities should join hands to boost the mining and mineral sector.