B. Socio-cultural environment
10. Mineral resources
Before 1970, little importance was given to the exploration and development of mineral deposits in NWFP. During the early 1970s, however, the provincial government gave importance to this sector, and a Directorate of Industries and Minerals was established to perform regulatory and mineral development activities. SDA was assigned the job of exploration and development of the mineral resources in the province. The varied geology of the province offers considerable potential in mineral wealth, including many metallic and non-metallic deposits, fuel and energy mineral deposits, gems and other types of stones. SDA and the private sector are involved in mineral exploitation and exploration. To date, 43 economically viable mineral deposits have been discovered in the province.
The present exploration and development activities are related to known mineral deposits, whereas vast areas remain unexplored. However, SDA has commenced regional exploration and geochemical surveys covering an area of 14,000 m2, particularly in Chitral, with the aim of identifying mineral deposits and anomalous areas for future investigation. Having achieved widely favourable results, SDA has also launched similar regional exploration and geochemical surveys in Malakand and Hazara Divisions covering an overall area of 30,000 m2. Evaluations of the economic value of many of the deposits is still underway. The major environmental and conservation issues related to such activities are to: (a) ensure worker health and safety, (b) carry out proper and timely EIAs; and (c)require site reclamation once mining is finished.