Pakistan: Balochistan’s Large Aqua Deposits Need to be Tapped
To uplift the gemstone segment of the mineral sector, it is necessary to explore and exploit the aquamarine deposits in Balochistan province.
“A well-developed gemstone sector will help boost value-added exports, thus fetching foreign exchange for the dollar-strapped country,” stressed Abdul Bashir, chief geologist at Koh-i-Daleel Minerals Company (Pvt) Limited.
Talking to WealthPK, he pointed out that Balochistan’s geological environment indicated the existence of aquamarine deposits. “Chagai, the thrusting faults of Ras Koh Arch, and all the areas in the axial belt in Balochistan are said to be aquamarine-rich. In the Ras Koh Arch, the occurrence of igneous activity in the sedimentary rocks and the resulting metamorphism strongly indicate the presence of aquamarine. The axial belt and Chagai are also said to contain aquamarine reserves,” he explained.
The presence of aquamarine reserves in the region resulted from hydrothermal activity and the suitable environment for the occurrence of garnet and emerald (both are the associative gems of aquamarine), he added.
He said slightly blue and teal-tinted aquamarine was a semi-precious gemstone, ranking something between 7½ to 8 on the Mohs Hardness Scale. “It keeps an imperfect cleavage, crystalises hexagonally, and is transparent or vitreous lustred in nature. A few types of geological zones are ideal for the occurrence of aquamarine, like the suture zone (a fault like an open area or thrust executed due to the rock overlapping); the igneous pegmatite and granitic pegmatite rock units; and the hydrothermal veins (also a type of the suture zone).”