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ISLAMABAD: The mines and minerals sector has witnessed a 56 percent increase in annual royalty collection during the last financial year as the sector has the potential to spur economic growth and job creation in Balochistan.

The government has issued 161 Prospecting licenses, 73 Mining Lease, and four Mining Exploration Licenses with an aim to trigger rapid growth of the mining sector and attract maximum investors, a Balochistan government official briefed APP on initiatives made to improve the Mining Sector.

The government had established new regional offices of mines and minerals at Muslim Bagh, Harnai, Mach, and Gwadar to ensure good governance and facilitation of the mining companies. The government has also imparted training to over 500 mining workers in the mining sector to overcome the rising disaster and death ratio due to poor working conditions and lack of awareness.

The Balochistan government has also established Mining Testing Laboratory at a cost of Rs 182 million. It would help in guiding miners in exploration, quality assessment, and improved production.

Furthermore, in order to ensure precautionary steps, the government has closed 321 mines on lacking safety measures and equipment at the workplaces.

The government had formed the Balochistan Minerals Exploration Company (BMEC) and Balochistan Minerals Resource Company Limited (BMRL) to endeavour mining lease and exploration in the province, he said.

"The initiative would lead to increase revenue generation in the province," he added. He said the amendment in mining rules was brought after the cabinet's go-ahead for bringing change in the existing rules.

To ensure good governance, the government had designated minerals experts from the sector as Board of Directors (BoD) of the BMEC, he went on to say while expressing optimism about better operations of the entities.

He said the companies would ensure the well-being of the dwellers of the mineral-rich districts by creating employment opportunities in the province.

"The mining sector is one of the top sectors to boost revenue," he remarked.

He said the sector has been digitized and adopted automation of royalty regime at a cost of Rs150 million.

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