Australia’s Pasminco has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Pakistan Mineral Development Corporation (PMDC) and Baluchistan Development Authority (BDA) for zinc exploration and development. Pasminco will invest approximately $10 million over a three to five-year period in exploration activities.

The agreement covers further exploration work and the possible development of a zinc deposit at Duddar, 135 kilometres north of Karachi in Baluchistan. A study conducted by PMDC and the UN Department for Economic & Social Development has provisionally identified a 10.3 million tonne deposit at Duddar, of which 11.4 per cent is zinc and 2.1 per cent is lead.

Pasminco will fund further drilling work at Duddar and conduct a feasibility study into the development of the area. In return, Pasminco has the right to a 75 per cent interest in the Duddar mineral lease. PMDC and BDA have the option to acquire a 24 per cent interest if development goes ahead.

Pasminco will also conduct exploration work in the Mor Range and Piaro Ridge districts which cover 3,000 square kilometres in Baluchistan. Concentrates mined locally would be treated by Pasminco’s smelters in Australia or alternatively by smelters in Asia.

‘This joint venture with PMDC and BDA is a key step in Pasminco’s growth strategy with the potential to secure zinc resources for the rapid demand growth expected in the Asian region,’ Pasminco chief executive Peter Barnett said in a company statement.