Rare gemstones can bring huge economic benefits for Pakistan: WealthPK

ISLAMABAD: A variety of rarest gemstones in sizeable quantities still remain unexploited in Pakistan. Proper exploration and trading of these treasures can bring a fortune to the country.
To deal in the rare gemstones, whether they are of museum quality, collector’s edition, or enthusiasts’ choice, the ultimate gem resource mentioning and excellent marketing is very important.
Talking about the rare gemstones in Pakistan, Project Director of Mineral Resource Mapping Balochistan (MRMB), Mines and Minerals Development Department, Syed Muzaffar Ali Bokhari said earthen crypts in Pakistan are rich in precious, semi-precious, and rare gemstones. From transparent to opaque and translucent, every type of gemstone is found in Pakistan. The treasures of a great number of remote areas in Balochistan still remain untapped.
“To explore all these treasures and get proper benefits from them, Pakistan must invite foreign investors, companies/individuals to mine or set the gemstones business in the country. In this way, the lack of capital, technology and exploration can be covered in a good manner,” he said.
In a discussion with WealthPK, Gemmologist and Miner Zakirullah said most of the rare gemstone varieties and also few world-famous but rare gemstone varieties i.e., Alexandrite, Pink topaz, Bastnasite, Parisite, Halloween, Rutile, Vivianite, are found in Pakistan.
Alexandrite found in Pakistan is wonderfully unique to react in a different type of light i.e., it seems yellow in artificial light, while it glitters in red color in sunlight. Russian Alexandrite in the artificial or night lights is green, while in sunlight exposure, it shows fire red color.
Sometimes, shimmering diamonds lag behind from the beauty of rare gemstones i.e., Benitoite, Bixbite, Paraiba tourmaline, Jadeite, Tanzanite, Burma Ruby, Ammolite, Alexandrite, Kashmir Sapphire, Anatase, Brookite, mostly found in the areas of Katlang, Gilgit, Shamozai, in the nearest area to Warsak Dam, Mohmand, Bajaur, Khyber, Skardu, Kharan, Chagai, Saindak, etc. In these areas covering the range of about 50 to 60 kilometers, totally unexploited gemstone pockets are found.
Rare gemstones can open a door of prosperity for Pakistan. Fortunately, about 2,000 types of rare crystals are found in Pakistan. Most of them are still not named or valued. The known varieties of rare gemstones are enough to pay the debts of Pakistan three times. But they need to be exploited and well marketed. Proper lapidary and trade strategy hold the key to success in this segment of mining.
Another difficulty is that villagers living in the areas where the gemstone pockets are not much cooperative. They think that only they can mine the gems. Their unawareness about the value and lack of technical expertise concerning gem mining brings disaster to this natural sophistication. Mostly, they exploit the gemstones by blasting and it brings out disaster to the whole cluster in the form of cracks. Only 50 out of a hundred crystals survive but they also get little damage in the blasting process.
They also become a tool in the hands of corrupt elements belonging to the gem theft mafia. In this way, not only they but the country is losing a massive revenue. Raising their awareness and introduction of modern technology is very important.
“Crystals attached to mother rocks always bring superb profit returns. If they are detached or broken, then their real value falls bitterly,” Zakirullah said.
To exploit the real potential of earthen riches and to get proper economic benefits, Pakistan must consider utilising the Chinese expertise. Pakistan can seek Chinese coordination in many fields related to geosciences i.e., new survey techniques, modern mining ways, lapidary, value addition in mined materials, and high-tech marketing. Improvement in all these fields is important for Pakistan to boost its mining industry, especially the gemmology segment.