Skip to main content

Gilgit-Baltistan is home to abundant gold deposits

NAs home to abundant gold deposits, published in DAWN dated September 17, 2001
Syed Shams ud Din

Gold deposits are in abundance throughout the Northern Areas, a geological survey of the region revealed.

The quality is deemed to be superior as compared to that found in other parts of the world. All that is needed is an innovative approach to derive maximum benefit, and adoption of consistent policies geared towards prudent exploitation of this precious metal to usher in a revolutionary transformation in economic terms.

Gold washing has been rife throughout the Northern Areas from time immemorial, but the process that has been and still is in practice is primitive and quaint, and does not yield tangible results.

Golg deposit samples extracted from different places in the Northern Areas were put on display at an impressive stall manned by officials of the Planning and Development (P&D) Department of the Northern Areas in Gilgit at the time of the Silk Route festival last year. These included deposits obtained from Bagrote valley.

The geologists manning the stall had proudly told visitors that the gold found in this valley surpassed that found elsewhere both in terms of quality and quantity.

They also said that the government was chalking out a comprehensive programme to implement a scheme to ensure speedy mechanization of the existing gold extraction process by providing cost-effective and easy-to-handle machinery.

For centuries, a local community has been involved in extracting gold from the dunes of the nullahs carrying gold dust in this region. These families, who live a nomadic life, have been raking the banks of the river stretching from Kohistan in the south up to Khunjrab in the north. But since their method of extraction is primitive, the results have not been compatible with the effort put in.

The proposed mechanization of gold extraction as envisaged above could well revolutionise the lives of these poor families and help them achieve prosperity, provided the machinery is made accessible to them on easy terms and conditions.

Exploitation of the gold potential in the picturesque Bagrote valley is made easy by the fact that a jeep-worthy road already exists right up to the identified place. There are wide prospects of similar other explorations inside the valley if the road from Chirah, the last destination, is extended northeast so that unhindered access is possible up to Gargooh on one side and Gutoomi pastures on the other.

Gold is also found in abundance in Shimshal valley although this valley has long remained cut off because of inaccessibility. Another place where gold is tipped to be found is Kondhill nullah between Raminj and Khudabad, and also Watwushk lying ahead of Misgar village.

Gold is also said to be found near Baba Ghondi shrine in Chapursan Valley. It appears that gold extracted from Hunza River originates from the above place.

The first Gems Expo in Rupal, Gilgit, last year during the Silk Route festival, afforded a golden opportunity to display and popularize the indigenous minerals. Its success was testified by the fact that the Northern Areas Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NACCI) was encouraged to hold another expo in Islamabad and later on in Dubai. If these expos become regular features, they will attract international buyers.

Despite the arduous work, many locals go up the mountains in the summer when the snow melts in search of precious stones. These include people from the Haramosh tract in Gilgit and people from Nagar proper too. But, the absence of lapidary here has been a major setback in the trade. The facility could enable the stones found here to chiseled for proper marketing.

The area between Haramosh to Ghanche in Baltistan offers tremendous potential in mineral exploitation.

The defunct Pakistan Minerals Development Corporation (PMDC) once undertook projects in Baltistan with encouraging results.

The mountains in the picturesque Shigar Valley are also interspersed with diverse gem stones.

There is flurry of mining activity here in the summer by many locals from across the region despite the fact that there is no institution to provide guidance in the field.

The government has earmarked a sizeable amount for tapping mineral potential in the country. It is fervently hoped that a full-fledged department in this region be established so that systematic effort geared towards harnessing the vast mineral potential can get underway for sustainable development. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Gilgit-Baltistan – A Historical Narrative

BySyed Shamsuddin

Perceptibly, there abound divergent narratives and counter narratives wittingly or unwittingly churned out as to status of Gilgit-Baltistan which more often than not, have no bearing on and are sadly devoid of any substance when put in the correct historical perspective. In order to get the best and clearest possible picture, it becomes imperative to have a full view of and delve deeper into its background with a view to irrefutably place facts connected with the matter in the correct historical order by separating what is called the wheat from the chaff for the information of the readers as follows:
Strictly speaking, the region fell on turbulent times and troublous waters during the second half of the nineteenth century which may, with profit, be called the period of uncertainty and the gloomiest transitional phase in Gilgit-Baltistan’s context. Synoptically, region consisted of and apportioned into a dozen tiny kingdoms each ruled by despotic, independent rulers f…

Foiling India’s Inimical Designs

BySyed Shamsuddin A very interesting summation, aptly encompassing has been going on in Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) overtime in socio-political context, was published in a regional Urdu daily the other day. The learned writer offered a peep into the brief historical background of the region dating to the post-independence period, and referred precisely to what happened preceding the liberation of Gilgit-Baltistan. Beginning with briefly recording of the facts about how the British colonizers packed off by giving back the territory of Gilgit, in August 1947, to the Dogra occupiers, quite intriguingly with the condition that the latter would retain Major William Brown – a British military officer – to assign him the command of Gilgit Scouts. The move was ostensibly aimed at checking effectively and blocking Russo-China contacts, as well as to preclude Gilgit region from the impact of communists inroads into this land.
After the successful revolution of 1st November 1947, Gilgit emerged as a…

Eulogizing The Protectors of Culture and Tradition

BySyed Shamsuddin QUITE PROPITIOUSLY, a flurry of activities is getting underway in the context of revival of Shina language in its original form and diction. This is in addition to the marked efforts afoot to build a consensus among the literary circles formed by Shina speaking communities all across the Shina speaking areas – mostly inhabiting northern Pakistan and part of the Indian held Kashmir- to popularize and universalize a homogenized approach to a unified code aimed at sustaining and preserving this language which is sadly on the wane.
To give a recent example, Shakil Ahmad Shakil carried out a research work culminating in his products like ‘dade shilokeh’ (grandmas’s tales) and Shina Grammar, Aziz-ur-Rehman Malangi’s Shina Diwan and to top them all is Haji Shah Mirza’s translation of the Holy Qura’an into Shina which is greatly contributive to the existing literature in Shina. There is no gainsaying that viewed in terms of it originality of form, diction and etymology, Shin…