ISLAMABAD  - The PTI-led government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Monday launched the ‘Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mineral Policy 2014’ claiming it was the first ever policy of its kind in the history of the country that would explore the mining industry in the province in a bid to jump start the economy and social development.

Chief Minister Pervez Khattak formally launched the policy at a local hotel, while PTI Chairman Imran Khan was the chief guest on the occasion at a local hotel. Speaker KP assembly Asad Qaiser and Provincial Minerals Minister Zahiullah Afridi were also present on the occasion besides senior leadership of the party, foreign envoys, investors, civil society and media persons.

Imran in his speech said that the main objectives of the policy were to protect local community, develop mineral industry, guard the environment and subsequently explore new avenues to development and prosperity.

He also hinted at the crackdown on the timber mafia in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and deplored that the successive governments did not pay attention towards human resource development in the past. “We have spent a lot of money in KP to train people and I congratulate the CM for allocating money for human beings,” Khan said adding that their major focus was on human resource development and they had focused mineral sector for this purpose.

Khan said the provincial government started working to formulate a policy for exploring the mineral sector. After an Australian investor suggested them that they would not attract investment as far as they would not have any mineral policy.

He said that the provincial government would import technology from Italy to boost up the marble mining in the province.

Imran also said the provincial government is going to unveil another policy about environment, adding under which one billion of trees will be planted in next five years and the number of national parks will be increased.

Speaking on the occasion, Khattak said the main objective the provincial government was to activate mineral sector to enhance and increase its contribution to revenues, foreign exchange earnings, employment, human resource and technology development.

He said that the development of mining sector would significantly contribute to improve the poor economy by increasing the gross domestic product (GDP), creating new employment opportunities besides opening international market for export. 

“The policy provides a set of guiding principles and a programme of action to further develop the mineral industry in the province by creating a business environment which will benefit the people”, he said.