Impact of Gemstone Mining and Illegal Trade from Pakistan


Pakistan is naturally blessed with numerous natural resources in which precious minerals are also included.

Check out: Impact of Human Activities on Margalla Hills National Park


A gemstone is also known as precious/semiprecious or rare stone, jewel, fine gem, or simply a gem.

Gemstones are defined as rare minerals or precious minerals that have their values according to the beliefs of people.


Precious minerals are usually found in mountain ranges. The northern and western regions of Pakistan are famous for mountain ranges such as the Karakorum, Himalaya, and Hindukush. These mountains are a source of precious minerals and gemstones in Pakistan. You may like to read 7 Must See Beautiful Natural Phenomena in Pakistan

What gemstones are present in Pakistan and where they are present are described below.

Aquamarine, topaz, tourmaline, scheelite, apatite, sphene, morganite, aquamarine, brookite, aragonite, emerald, corundum, and many more are found in Pakistan. These gemstones are commonly present in Tribal areas, Gilgit Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhawa.

gemstones are expensive and found at foothills range of mountains in Pakistan

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There are different categories of gemstone mining such as sea mining, river digging, underground mining, open-pit mining, etc. Nonetheless, open cast mining is the most commonly used process to extract precious gemstones. In this mining process, the ground layer of rocks or minerals is removed to create a pit that reaches to gemstone bearing rocks, then water pressure is used to obtain gems.


The mining process itself is a pollution-causing factor. Gemstone mining is also responsible for environmental pollution. You may like to read Mining Pollution – Causes, Effects, and Solutions

The environmental effects of gemstone mining are listed below.

1. Habitat Loss: Mountains are home to a diverse variety of plants and animal species. Gemstone mining causes habitat loss due to mining pollution. The habitat destruction due to the mining process may also lead to species loss.

2. Water Pollution: Water is also used during gemstone mining for hydraulic pressure. The resultant water is contaminated with chemicals, metals, or water-soluble pollutants. Power generation through fossil fuel combustion for machinery work not only pollutes groundwater but nearby vegetation too.

3. Land Pollution: Oil spills from machinery work, and the gemstone mining technique, digging and drilling process of gemstone mining all contribute to soil pollution.

4. Soil Erosion: The vegetation at the foothills of mountains is removed for the mining process. The gemstone mining process leads to soil erosion. The mining areas are not rehabilitated due to which this process accelerates in that area.

5. Air Pollution: The whole process of gemstone mining is dangerous for the environment. Strong winds blowing at the subjected area carry dirt, particulate matter leading to air pollution.

6. Land Use Changes: The scenic beauty of that place is destroyed due to the gemstone mining process. This results in damage to landscape structures.


The presence of gemstones attracts criminals as well. Mafia is involved in the illegal trade of gemstones because they are expensive and precious.

  • Economic loss: The illegal trade of gemstones causes economic loss as the government doesn’t receive revenue for gem smuggling.
  • Hindrance to Sustainability: Gem smuggling or any illegal trade of wildlife is a factor that causes hindrance in achieving sustainable development goals.


Gemstones are precious stones that have economical importance for any country. Pakistan is enriched with such minerals. Gemstone mining is polluting the environment. However, the illegal trade of gemstone is also happening in Pakistan. The reason is those areas are not given proper attention for development. Pakistan is a developing country where the smuggling of gemstones is causing trouble to the economy of the country. The government should take strict actions against smugglers.

Also check out: Ecosystem Zones and Climatic Biomes of Pakistan

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