JK Govt Floats Fresh 'Global Tenders' for Kashmir Sapphire

JAMMU: Not giving up yet on its intention to tap the potential of the world-famous Kashmir sapphire gemstone, the Jammu and Kashmir government has floated a fresh tender to attract the attention of international and national players interested in its extraction.  

"A fresh global tender has been floated to tap the potential of high-grade and world-famous sapphire (mined) in Kishtar belt of the state," Minister for Industries and Commerce Sajjad Ahmed Kichloo said.  

The new tenders follow the previous offer inviting Expression of Interest which failed to generate much response as "only one major company had submitted the proposal for extraction of sapphire," Kichloo said.  

"We do not want to give the contract this way". J&K Minerals Ltd, a state government enterprise, yesterday issued a fresh global tender inviting parties with expertise in mine-planning, exploration and mining of gemstones to undertake exploration and exploitation of sapphire through a joint venture.  

Sapphire from Paddar Valley in Kishtwar district is famous the world over for its unique peacock-blue colour.  

The minister, also a local MLA from Kishtwar, is keen on the project and hopes that the Paddar sapphire would soon make a return to markets worldwide.  

"We are going to speed up the process to ensure the exploitation of this sapphire wealth," Kichloo said.  

JKML holds a mine lease over an area of 6.65 square kilometre on GT Sheet 52/C at Paddar, at a height of 4,327 meters.

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