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Bureau of Mines / Minerals yearbook mineral industries of Asia and the Pacific 1992
Year 1992, Volume 3 (1992)

Wu, John C.
Nepal,   pp. [272]-275 PDF (1.1 MB)


Page 273

THE MINERAL INDUSTRY OF NEPAL—1992  273THE MINERAL INDUSTRY OF
NEPAL 
By John C. Wu 
 The Kingdom of Nepal, a small landlocked country with an area about the
size of Arkansas, is bordered on the north by Tibet of China, on the east
by Sikkim and West Bengal of India, and on the south and west by Bihar and
Uttar Pradesh of India. Nepal's per capita GNP in 1992, according to the
Asia Development Bank, amounted to only $170' and was the poorest nation
in south Asia. Nepal's mineral resources, identified by its Department of
Mines and Geology under the Ministry of Industry, include beryl, clays, coal,
copper, dolomite, gemstones, gold, iron ore, lead, limestone, magnesite,
mica, silica sand, construction stone, talc, tin, and zinc. Among these minerals
only clays, 
~ coal, gemstones, limestone, marble, 
~ magnesite, and talc were currently being 
~ mined. 
Nepal's mining sector, comprised mainly of several small-scale industrial
minerals mining companies, is the smallest sector of the Nepalese economy.
Nepal's GDP was estimated at $3 billion in 1992. The output of the mining
and quarrying industry, according to the latest United Nations' statistics,
was estimated at $6 million,2 or 0.2 % of Nepal's GDP. Nepal mineral processing
consisted of three cement plants, a dead-burned magnesite processing plant,
and a talc processing plant. 
 Mining operations of various industrial minerals by privately owned small
mining firms are sparsely distributed throughout the country. Limestone was
being mined for the production of cement and lime and for construction materials.
Boulders, clays, marble, and sand were being mined for domestic consumption
as well as for export to India. In early 1992, gold and uranium particles
reportedly had 
been found in the sand and boulders in the Chaulani-Gad and Panchmane areas
of the Baitadi District. As a result, exports to India of sand and boulders
from these areas were suspended. In environmental restoration, the Ministry
of Forest and Environment and the Nepal ~ Mining Industry Association initiated
planting in September of 4,000 saplings at Lele Bhanjyany, Lalitpur, on 4
ha of land to help maintain the balance between development and environment.3
 Nepal produced a small amount of coal, but most of the coal requirements
for cement production and other uses were met by imports from India. Because
of financial and technical problems, a major coal producer, Abhidhara Pataghar
Coal Industry, which had suspended mining operations since 199 1 , reportedly
was expected to resume production in the near future. The Nepal Coal Co.
, which had a purchase agreement with India for importing 125,000 tons of
coal in 1992, signed another agreement for importing an additional 10,000
tons in 1992. 
 Mining of crude magnesite was by Nepal Orind Magnesite Ltd. at Kharidhunga
and Lamusangu, to the northeast of Kathmandu (national capital) in the Dolkha
mining district. Nepal Orind Magnesite, which is 50 % owned by the Government
and 50 % by Orissa Industries Ltd. of India, completed construction of a
crushing plant at Kharidhunga as well as a 50,000-mt/a dead-burned magnesite
processing plant (shaft kiln) and a 10,000-mt/a talc processing plant at
Lamusangu in 1988. Processing technology was supplied under a licensing agreement
between Orissa Industries and Harbison-Walker Refractones of the United States.
According to the Finance Ministry, 
although large investments had been made in Nepal Orind Magnesite, the company
had not yet been able to start trial production in late 1991 . 
 Production of cement was estimated to be at a higher level than that of
1991 as a result of the commissioning of a new cement plant in July 1992.
The Himal Cement Co. Ltd. , which was commissioned in 1976 at Chobhar, produced
about 60,000 tons with an annual capacity of about 100,000 mt/a. Hetauda
Cement Ltd. , which was commissioned in 1985 at Hetauda, produced about 150,000
tons with an annual capacity of 260,000 mt/a. The plant of Udayapur Cement
Industry Ltd. at Jaljale, newly commissioned in July 1992, was estimated
to have produced 
60,000 tons with an annual capacity of 
277,200 mt/a.4 
 Following a prefeasibility study conducted by a four-person UN team in 1988,
the United Nations Development Program provided a $ 1 .6 million budget to
conduct a feasibility study for developing the Ganesh Himal lead-zincsilver
deposit, about 60 km northwest of Kathmandu in 1991 . The final report was
scheduled for the first quarter of 1993. The ongoing 2-year feasibility study
included an extensive underground drilling program, additional metallurgical
tests, rock mechanics, geotechnical work, and environmental impact studies.
 According to a preliminary report, the drilling results were not as promising
as originally expected. The deposit is at a 4, 100-m elevation above sea
level, the area is remote, and the topography rugged. Hence, access and transportation
costs would be high. The capital cost of developing the deposit was estimated
at between $18 million and $20 million. 


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