Bangladesh gained independence through the war of liberation in 1971. It is one of the developing countries of the third world. The amount of natural resources is very small compared to the population of this country. Again, it is not possible to ensure the extraction and proper use of natural resources due to lack of necessary initiatives, capital and technology. Since natural resources play an important role in the development of a country, the economic development of a country can be ensured through the efficient use of natural resources by utilizing our labor capital and technology.
*What are natural resources:
Generally, natural resources means all the resources given by nature. Natural resources include geographical location, climate, rainfall, soil, rivers, agricultural resources, mineral resources, fisheries resources, forest resources, animal resources, and solar energy. These resources cannot create people. But people can extract and use. Natural resources and human resources complement the development of the country.
The major natural resources of Bangladesh are discussed below:
Mineral resources are one of the natural resources of Bangladesh. Notable minerals are natural gas, coal, mineral oil, limestone, porcelain, hard rock, silica sand, copper, uranium, sulfur and salt. Some of the notable ones discussed are:
Natural gas is the main mineral resource of Bangladesh. The first gas field at Haripur in Sylhet was discovered in 1955. Gas extraction started from this gas field in 1956. Natural gas meets about 6 percent of the country's energy needs. The total number of gas fields discovered in the country is 25. Notable among them are Haripur of Sylhet, Chhatak of Sumaganj, Titas of Brahmanbaria, Bakhrabad of Comilla, Kutubdia of Chittagong etc. In 1986, the country was divided into 23 blocks for exploration and rapid expansion of gas resources. Gas production in the 2011-2012 financial year was 743.58 billion cubic feet and in the 2012-2013 financial year it was 332.06 billion cubic feet. At present, gas is being produced from 63 wells in 19 gas fields.
The coal resources of Bangladesh are not very developed. The coal available in our country is of very low quality. Plenty of peat national coal has been found in Basia of Faridpur and Chandabil and Kulabil of Khulna. High quality coal called bituminous and lignite has also been found in Rajshahi, Naogaon and Sylhet. In 1986, a huge coal mine was discovered in Bara Pukuria area of Dinajpur district. The total coal reserves discovered so far in the five coal fields are about 3300 million tons, which is equivalent to about 48 trillion cubic feet of gas. The total extracted coal till February 2012 of 2010-2011 fiscal year was 3.99 million metric tons.
Many experts think that a lot of mineral oil can be found in Bangladesh. The search for this has been going on for a long time. In 1986, some mineral oil was unexpectedly discovered from the 7th well of the Sylhet Haripur natural gas field. The well has 10 million barrels of oil reserves at a depth of 200 to 2030 meters. However, the amount of extractable reserves is about 6 million barrels. Mineral oil has also been found in Fenchuganj-3 and Kailashtila-2 wells. But due to technical complications it is not possible to lift.
Limestone has been found at Jaflong, Zakiganj in Sylhet district, Vaarghat in Sunamganj, Taker Ghat, Lalghat, Baglibazar, Sitaku in Chittagong district and St. Martin's Island in Cox's Bazar district. Besides, about 18 lakh tons of limestone is extracted annually from Joypurhat Limestone Project.
Quarry lease is given by the Bureau of Mineral Resources Development for the extraction of porcelain or plain raw material for the ceramic industry of the country. At present, there are 13 such leases in Mymensingh and Netrokona.