Nature has endowed Pakistan with vast deposits of minerals. World class gems are found in the north and north western parts of Pakistan. Located in the shadows of the three mighty ranges (Himalaya, Hindu Kush, and Karakoram) these areas have rich deposits of precious and semi-precious stones.
Emeralds of Swat, rubies of Hunza and Azad Kashmir and topaz from Mardan as well as a wide variety of quartz, peridot and other gems are much sought after in international market.
Quartz is also mined from Balochistan and so is chromite. Gold, Silver and copper have also been discovered in Balochistan. Balochistan also has the largest supply of natural gas which is supplied throughout the country.
Khewra salt mines, which are located in the Potowar plateau, are the Pakistan’s largest deposit of rock salt and World’s second largest is situated in the plains of Punjab. In salt range, the total reserves of salt range from 82 million tons to over 600 million tons.
Salt from this range is also used to make decorative items like lamps, vases, statues etc. Salt from Khewra, also known as Khewra salt, has different colours. It can be red, pink, off-white or transparent. In raw form it also contains chromium, zinc, and copper as trace elements.
Marble in various shades and colors has been mined too. Pakistan is particularly famous for its onyx productions. Iron ores and fireclay have also been discovered along with other nonmetallic minerals.
Thar region of Sindh has vast deposits of coal and crude oil has been found in Sindh as well.
Of all these minerals and precious stones, only petroleum, coal and natural gas enjoy the patronage of the federal government the rest are under the provincial government. The government also leases out deposit rich areas to foreign and local companies for mining.