Saturday May 28, 2022

Thar coal field’s Block-II achieves financial close

By our correspondents
January 03, 2016


The Thar coal and power project has entered its practical phase in block-II of its mining area and by 2018 it will contribute 660 megawatts of power to the national grid, disclosed a senior official of the federal ministry of water and power to The News on Saturday.

He said the project had reached its financial close and entered into its practical phase. The official while talking on the condition of anonymity said this was a big achievement and the Thar coal and power project will be producing 660 megawatts of electricity by 2018.

“The production of remaining 660 megawatts from block-II will begin by the end of 2018 or by the beginning of 2019 while the mining and energy projects in block-I and block-VI of Thar will also reach their financial close this year,” said the official. In total, around 3,960 megawatts of electricity will be produced in six phases from Thar coal in block-II of the project.

The first phase of 660 megawatts will be completed within three and a half years, while a new unit of 660 megwatts each will be added subsequently.

The coal mining and power generation project is being pursued by Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC), a joint venture between the Sindh government and Engro Corporation.

Block-II of Thar contained two billion tons of lignite reserves, out of which 1.57 billion tons were exploitable, the official disclosed. The SECMC had established a subsidiary — the Thar Power Company — to set up a 600 megawatt power plant utilising coal from Thar block-I.

Sino Sindh Resources — which is a subsidiary of Global Mining (China) Co — was awarded the exploration license to conduct the feasibility of mining coal from block-1 of the Thar coal fields in October, 2011. A detailed feasibility study was completed in March, 2012, and mining lease for block-I was issued to them in May, 2012. For block-VI, exploration license was issued to Oracle Coalfields in November 2007.

The Sindh Engro Coal Mining was established in 2009 with the aim that Sindh government should venture into partnership with a private sector company having relevant expertise and resources for exploiting the vast reserves of coal in Thar.

The coal in district Tharparkar of Sindh is one of the world’s largest lignite deposits discovered by Geological Survey of Pakistan in the 1990s, spread over more than 9,000 square kilometres, comprising around 175 billion tonnes that were sufficient to meet the country’s energy requirements for centuries.

Quarters concerned have often been wary of the lack of any substantial progress in mining and exploiting Thar coal for energy production and several years have passed since the federal and Sindh governments have joined hands to execute the project along with local and international private sector partnerships. 

During all these years, the energy and electricity needs of the country unabatedly increased while it always been expensive to use imported furnace oil to produce electricity.