Because only a few minerals were available in small
for commercial utilization, the mineral industry's
the economy was small. Most mineral commodities were used
domestic construction. The principal mineral agency was
Department of Mines and Geology. Geological surveys
the past had indicated the possibility of major metallic
industrial mineral deposits, but a poor infrastructure and
a skilled work force inhibited further development of the
The most important mineral resources exploited were
for cement, clay, garnet, magnetite, and talc. Crude
production declined from a high of approximately 63,200
1986 to approximately 28,000 tons in 1989; it was
decline further to 25,000 tons in 1990.
In 1990 mineral production decreased significantly,
because of political unrest. Production of cement fell
approximately 51 percent over 1989--from approximately
to about 107,200 tons. Production of clays for cement
dropped from 7,206 tons to 824 tons. Lignite production
19 percent, and talc production fell 73 percent.
production, however, increased in 1989--by 100 percent in
marble and 1,560 percent in marble chips.
Nonetheless, the mining industry had the potential to
more important part of the economy, as new mines were
or were being developed. Two cement plants already were in
operation, and a third one was being planned. It was
with full production in the three plants, Nepal might
become selfsufficient in cement. A magnetite mine and pressuring
plant east of
Kathmandu had completed its construction phase and began
of chalk powder (talcum powder) on a trial basis in 1990.
A highgrade lead and zinc mine was being developed north of
the region of Ganesh Himal and was expected to become
in the 1990s, although raising enough capital for the
problematic. Production of agricultural lime in 1989
of the previous year, suggesting that progress was being
towards meeting requirements of the agricultural sector.
Data as of September 1991