The government has taken radical and innovative measures for uplift of the minerals sector with coordinated efforts of all stakeholders including provincial authorities. “The country is blessed with 92 minerals, out of which 50 are exploited on a commercial basis. The new initiatives will greatly help exploit the true potential of this sector,” a senior official privy to petroleum sector developments told. As per constitutional provisions, he said, the federal government was mandated with geological surveys and regulation of mineral oil, natural gas and the minerals necessary for generation of nuclear energy and those occurring in federal areas, national policy formulation, facilitation and coordination at national and international levels. “All other minerals are provincial subjects.” For revamping the minerals sector, he said, the federal government had established the Balochistan Minerals Exploration Company Limited (BMEC) as a joint venture with the provincial government to promote large-scale mining in the mineral rich province of Balochistan. It also launched an investment facilitation project titled “Establishment of National Minerals Data Center (NMDC)” at federal level through the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) at a cost of Rs295 million. The project is aimed at maintaining a data repository encompassing the available geo-technical data and administrative details about licensing – granted mineral tiles and the areas applied for mining concessions. The official said that the government took another initiative through PSDP “Legal Consultancy Services for Drafting of Model Mineral Agreement and formulation of uniform regulatory regime” at cost of Rs100 million to facilitate introduction of an internationally competitive regulatory and institutional framework in the country in the light of best industry practices. Besides, he said, necessary action was underway for revamping of Pakistan Mineral Development Corporation (PMDC) and restructuring of Geological Survey of Pakistan (GSP) for better service delivery to help exploration and development of indigenous mineral resources. In addition, the official said, the government initiated a consultation process with all stakeholders for formulation of policy framework to promote use of indigenous coal resources for synthesis of gas and liquid fuels. He said the government also extended services for the special development packages it introduced for the minerals sector of Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan. The official said that the government continued extending support to facilitate smooth operation of mineral sector projects like Saindak Copper-Gold (Saindak Metals Limited), Duddar Lead-Zinc (MCC Huaye Duddar Mining Company), Barite-Lead-Zinc (Bolan Mining Enterprises), Chiniot Iron Ore (Punjab Mineral Company) and mining projects of rock salt and coal.