WASHINGTON: A leading American company plans to invest nearly $200 million in curating, processing, distributing, and importing pink Himalayan salt from Pakistan, officials said.
The Miracle Saltworks Collective Inc (MSCI) conveyed its interest to the Ambassador of Pakistan Masood Khan at a meeting in Washington on Friday and shared their investment plans with him.
An embassy official told journalists that the company was willing to invest in the entire process — from mining to bringing it to the United States.
The company will also prepare feasibility and reserve reports and will upgrade mining procedures and processes. The plan includes the construction of a world-class processing and packaging facility at the mining site and community development programmes.
Pakistan has huge reserves of pink salt with a potential earning of $12 billion annually. An embassy press release said the country possesses approximately 22.22 billion tonnes of the natural resource, concentrated mostly in Salt Range areas of Kala Bagh, Warcha, Khewra and Bahadur Khel.
“The salt mines have an immense potential of kick-starting massive economic activity in the country,” the statement added.
The delegation included the company’s president and CEO Ahmed N. Khan, Vice President Mr. Tad M. Ballantyne, and members of its governing board.
Currently, Pakistan is earning only $70 million a year from this unique natural resource due to the lack of a policy framework and the absence of adequate facilities for processing, packaging and distribution.
Briefing the ambassador, President MSCI Ahmed N. Khan said that a multi-pronged solution, featuring public-private partnership under a clearly defined policy was being worked out to assist the government in enhancing pink salt exports.
The new policy would also encourage the private sector to take a lead role in exploiting the existing potential.
Company officials said that they were undertaking a joint venture with Pakistan Mineral Development Corporation and plan to raise market awareness to reach 10 million tonnes of verified extraction by 2030.
Two world-class processing and distribution facilities would be established in Doha and China to fulfil global demand for the product. Ambassador Masood Khan informed the team that the government was committed to providing every possible facilitation to international investors and business communities intending to invest in traditional and non-traditional sectors. Highlighting various steps taken for promoting ease of doing business and restoring investor confidence, the ambassador said that Pakistan had a unique geostrategic location and could serve as a vast market for Central and West Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa.
He said that there was a huge market for pink salt not only in the region but across the world which guaranteed profitable business ventures in the sector.
Published in Dawn, May 14th, 2023