Body set up to develop Fata mineral sector

PESHAWAR: A working group has been established that will chalk out a strategy to develop the mineral sector in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) and enhance its competitiveness.Established with the direct support from the Fata Development Programme – Livelihood Development (FDP-LD), the Minerals Strategic Working Group (SWOG) comprises over 30 members representing the public and private sector, academia, mine owners, mineral sector experts, academia and key stakeholders of Fata`s mineral sector, said a statement issued here on Tuesday.The group will highlight challenges facing the minerals industry and identify and plug gaps in its value chain besides improving livelihoods of the people.

SWOG coordinator Shahidur Rehman said that the working group was a major step for initiating meaningful public-private sector dialogue, which would help boost the Fata mineral sector.“This platform will provide stakeholders with a chance to raise the problems facing the Fata mineral sector and the chromite value chain,” he said.Pakistan is rich in industrial and metallic mineral reserves and ranks fourth in the world as a chromite exporter.The FDP-LD has linked the SWOG members with chromite exporters and industry players in Karachi and talks are underway to develop joint ventures and collaborative approaches involving Fata mine owners and exporters.The minerals sector program is part of a wider range of the FDP-LD activities to improve the livelihoods of people. Working with the Fata Secretariat, the FDP-LD is improving livelihoods through education support, infrastructure development, market linkages, and value chain programs. – Dawn