The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Provincial government of Pakistan has planned a limestone mining/crushing site at Khanpur for the cement industry. The scheme has been approved by the Cabinet and the Assembly as Annual Development Plan (ADP) in the FY21-22 financial budget for the country’s northern area.
KP Chief Minister Special Assistant on Mining, Arif Ahmadzai, informed the media that the KP Mines Department had awarded rights for establishing stone crushers near Khanpur Dam, covering an area of 3750 acres with the potential of 300 crusher plants. He added that the area with reserves of around 8bnt of limestone could initially generate PKR200m-500m per annum (US$1.21m-US$3.04m), rising to PKR8bn per annum.
However, environmental experts are surprised about how the scheme was approved and became part of the ADP without any environmental assessment by the authorities.
It is pointed out that, after the Supreme Court ordered the removal of 60 stone crushers from Margala mountains in Islamabad, which was a significant source of limestone for stone crushers, and imposed a complete ban on mining, the owners of the displaced stone crushers were desperate to obtain mining rights in the vicinity. The then chief justice, while ordering the removal of stone crushers from Margala in 2016, said, “We don’t want to make people jobless, but we have to protect the environment.”