Punjab is endowed with a rich variety of mineral resources that contribute significantly to the industrial and construction sectors. This article provides an overview of key minerals found in Punjab, their uses, occurrences, and the legal framework governing their extraction and utilization.

Argillaceous Clay

Description Argillaceous clays are rocks or sediments composed primarily of clay minerals, with a significant portion of silt or clay-sized detrital particles.

Uses

  • Essential in cement manufacturing.
  • Used in approximately 4,000 brick kiln units across Punjab for producing various sizes of bricks used in building construction.

Occurrence These deposits are abundant in Punjab, primarily excavated from the alluvium in the Punjab basin.

Bauxite

Description Bauxite is the principal commercial source of aluminium and is used for lateritic aluminium ore. It comprises hydrated alumina with the chemical formula AL2O3.2H2O, with a specific gravity of 2-2.6 and varying colours from white to yellow, grey, and red.

Uses

  • Synthesis of alum and alumina extraction.
  • Manufacturing of aluminium metal, compounds, refractories, furnace lining, and abrasives.

Occurrence Significant deposits are found from Nilawahn to Khura in the south of Salt Range, and near Ziarat & Pir Sultan Mehdi in District Khushab. Other notable locations include Saloi and Takwan in District Chakwal, Kheri Murat Range, and Kala Chitta Ranges.

Bentonite

Description Bentonite consists mainly of montmorillonite clay and has strong ion exchange properties. It swells in water and is known commercially as sodium montmorillonite.

Uses

  • Foundries, paints, polishes, agricultural sprays, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, detergents, cement, and water purification.
  • In oil drilling muds, road emulsions, and various industrial applications.

Occurrence Primarily extracted from Siwalik rocks near Jalalpur Sharif and Dina in District Jhelum, and also in District Attock.

Building Materials (Stone, Gravel, Sand)

Types

  • Igneous and metamorphic rocks.
  • Sedimentary rocks.
  • Gravel and sand.

Uses

  • Construction materials for buildings and roads.
  • Limestone for cement manufacturing and construction.

Occurrence

  • Kirana Hills near Sargodha, Shahkot, Sangla Hills, Chiniot.
  • Limestone in Margallah Hills, Salt Range, and other districts like Attock, Rawalpindi, Jhelum, Chakwal, Khushab, and D.G. Khan.

Calcite

Description Calcite is a widely distributed rock-forming mineral, a stable form of calcium carbonate (CaCO3).

Uses

  • Manufacturing bleaching powder, ammonia, calcium carbide, fertilizers, cosmetics, and various industrial products.

Occurrence Found in the cracks of limestone in districts like Attock, Rawalpindi, Chakwal, Jhelum, and D.G. Khan.

Celestite

Description Celestite (SrSO4) is a strontium mineral used in manufacturing strontium salts.

Uses

  • Filler in white paint, rubber filler, oil drilling mud, pyrotechnics, ceramics, chemicals, and metallurgy.

Occurrence Notable deposits are located near Daud Khel in the districts of Khushab and D.G. Khan.

Chalk

Description Chalk is a soft, fine-grained white to greyish limestone composed mainly of calcite.

Uses

  • Manufacturing of cements, powders, crayons, and fertilizers.

Occurrence Deposits are found in the limestone accumulations in districts like Rawalpindi, Chakwal, Khushab, Mianwali, D.G. Khan, and Rajanpur.

China Clay

Description China Clay, primarily composed of kaolin, is used in manufacturing chinaware and ceramics.

Uses

  • Paper industry, ceramics, refractories, rubber, paints, and plastics.

Occurrence Found in districts like Chakwal, Khushab, Mianwali, Attock, and D.G. Khan.

Coal

Description Coal is a stratified rock-like brown to black derivative of forest vegetation.

Uses

  • Industrial fuel, thermal power generation, brick kilns, cement manufacturing, and domestic purposes.

Occurrence Significant deposits in the Salt Range and districts like Attock, Jhelum, Chakwal, Khushab, and Mianwali.

Dolomite

Description Dolomite is a mineral with equal parts of calcium and magnesium carbonate.

Uses

  • Building, monumental purposes, agricultural fertilizer, sugar refining, and chromate manufacturing.

Occurrence Deposits in District Mianwali, Chakwal, Khushab, and Attock.

Fireclay

Description Fireclay or refractory clay withstands high temperatures and is primarily composed of kaolin.

Uses

  • Refractories, chemicals, cements, pottery, and stoneware.

Occurrence Found in districts like Mianwali, Khushab, Chakwal, and Jhelum.

Fuller’s Earth

Description A fine earth resembling clay with high magnesia content, used for decolorizing oils and fats.

Uses

  • Petroleum products, bleaching in ghee & oil industry, pharmaceuticals, and absorbents in pesticides.

Occurrence Deposits in D.G. Khan District, notably around Taunsa, Qaisrani, and Shadan Lund.

Gypsum

Description Gypsum is a hydrated sulphate of calcium used in various industrial applications.

Uses

  • Fertilizer, disinfectant, cement retarder, decorative purposes, and manufacturing of plaster of Paris.

Occurrence Deposits in the tribal areas of Dera Ghazi Khan and the Salt Range.

Iron Ore

Description Iron ore includes minerals like hematite, magnetite, and siderite.

Uses

  • Making iron and steel.

Occurrence Significant deposits in Kalabagh, Rakhi Munh, and Chiniot in districts like Mianwali, D.G. Khan, and Jhang.

Laterite

Description Laterite is a residual soil rich in iron and aluminium, used in cement manufacturing.

Uses

  • Ore of iron and flux in cement manufacturing.

Occurrence Deposits in Rawalpindi, Attock, and Mianwali.

Limestone

Description Limestone is a sedimentary rock mainly composed of calcium carbonate.

Uses

  • Cement manufacturing, construction, chemical industry, and glass industry.

Occurrence Abundant in districts like Attock, Rawalpindi, Jhelum, Chakwal, Khushab, and Mianwali.

Rock Salt

Description Rock salt is the commercial name for halite, primarily composed of sodium chloride.

Uses

  • Daily food, manufacturing sodium compounds, preserving food, and in metallurgy.

Occurrence Extensive deposits in the Salt Range, notably in places like Khewra and Kalabagh.

Silica Sand

Description Silica sand, primarily composed of silicon dioxide, is used in glass making and industrial applications.

Uses

  • Glass making, abrasive products, and refractory materials.

Occurrence Deposits in the western Salt Range and Trans Indus Range, notably in Mianwali.

Conclusion

Punjab’s rich mineral resources provide significant industrial and economic benefits. Understanding the occurrence, uses, and legal framework governing these resources is crucial for their effective and sustainable utilization. For more detailed information or legal assistance regarding mineral resources, please consult Josh and Mak International at aemen@joshandmak.com 

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