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Pakistan-US Science and Technology Cooperation Program                                                            
Phase 4 (2009 Deadline)

Integration of Geological, Geochemical, and Remote Sensing Data for Finding
Source Rocks for Gold in the Northern Areas of Pakistan 

Shuhab D. Khan, University of Houston
Mohammad Tahir Shah, University of Peshawar
Pakistani Funding (HEC):  $159,914
US Funding (Department of State): $200,000
Project Dates: November 15, 2010 - November 14, 2013 (Extended through December 14, 2014)
Project Overview
Gold washing has long been practiced along the Indus and Gilgit Rivers in northern Pakistan. The local gold washers use only primitive tools and lack information on where the most promising sources might be found, so despite working hard throughout the year their income from gold panning is less than $100 per year. In order to produce an effective strategy for gold exploration and exploitation in northern Pakistan, the gold source rocks must first be identified and mapped and techniques for pinpointing gold anomalies using remote sensing data must be developed and tested. This collaborative project aims to build a GIS database to identify gold anomalies in northern Pakistan and train Pakistani scientists in remote sensing image processing for mapping gold-bearing zones and analyzing trace element geochemistry. To publicize their findings this team will also conduct a training workshop in northern Pakistan to educate local people on good practices for gold panning. The project should expand and enhance existing cooperative ties between the Pakistani and US researchers involved and will afford numerous opportunities for advanced training and education of US and Pakistani students and scientists, as well as wide-ranging scientific and cultural exchanges. The impact of this research on beginning researchers will be high, as four early-career female scientists from Pakistan will be directly involved in the project. The study should also help promote the development of the mineral sector in the northern areas of Pakistan. The successful identification of various types of gold-bearing zones would be of great economic importance and could generate new employment opportunities for the local population, a crucial need in this remote and impoverished area.
Quarterly Update 

In first two year of the project several samples were collected from Bagrot Valley, Shigri Bala, Machulu, Ranthak and Astor valley of northern Pakistan. In total One hundred and sixty (160) thin sections from rock samples were prepared and analyzed including twenty (20) thin sections for ore petrography. All of these samples were analyzed for gold and other precious metals. Thirty five (35) host rock samples were also analyzed for major and trace elements. Contrary to previous studies that identified four (4) target sites with high gold content, this study found relatively low or negligible gold concentration in those sites. However, they found one new site with high gold and other related trace elements. With new data, the team identified several new mineralization zones that shed light on mineralization in this region. In addition the team also used geochemistry and remote sensing data for mercury contamination associated with gold mining in Hunza River basin. Study results suggested that the main source of mercury is located north of Attabad Lake. Some of these datasets are posted at project’s GIS server:
On June 26, 2013, University of Peshawar organized workshop on Tectono-magmatic Controls on Porphyry and Epithermal Mineralization. This workshop was arranged to train students and junior faculty members on various aspects of formation of porphyry type copper and gold deposits and epithermal mineralization. More than 60 participants attended from various organizations. Two associate professors from University of Peshawar (Dr. Tazeem Tahirkheli and Dr. Rubina Bilquees) and the Pakistani PI Dr. Shah visited the US team. Currently, three junior faculty members, eight graduate students, one undergraduate student and four technicians are directly involved in this project. Two students at the University of Peshawar are pursuing PhD research on this project. Research of three MS students at the University of Peshawar and one MS student at the University of Houston is focused on parts of this project.
Progress Reports

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