Thar coal project: Mining activity begins for overburden removal

April 29, 2014 Off By Web Desk

KARACHI: After a long wait of almost 2 decades, since discovery of Thar Coal deposits – 7th largest coal reserves in 1991 by Geological Survey of Pakistan (GSP) and the United State Agency for International Development, mining activity for overburden removal at Thar has been initiated.

Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC), a joint venture between Sindh government and Engro incorporated in 2009, has initiated works for 113 million cubic meter overburden removal in Thar Block-II.

Thar has estimated lignite reserves of 175 billion tons, equivalent to the total oil reserves of Saudi Arabia and Iran combined and can be used to produce 100,000 MW for 200 years.

SECMC plans to set-up a mine of 3.8Mt/a (660MW equivalent) in 3.5 years which will be expanded in phases to 21.5Mt/a (4000MW equivalent). At optimum capacity of 4000MW, power tariff will be as low as USc 6/kWh matched by no other fuel.

This major breakthrough has only been made possible through the instrumental support provided at all forums by Government of Pakistan, Government of Sindh, Engro and other investors. On 31st Jan 2014, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif along with former President Asif Zardari performed ground-breaking for this mega project where SECMC pledged to start the project by mid of 2014. Political leadership of Pakistan has declared it the “most important project” for power sector of Pakistan.

A number of local industrial groups and investors have joined hands with SECMC to make this project a reality and drive Pakistan on-track towards energy self-reliance.

Development of indigenous Thar Coal Reserves offers a fortune-turning proposition for Pakistan, which will not only address the severe power shortage crisis in medium to long term but also bring energy security to the country. Pakistan is suffering from over-dependence on imported fuel for power generation, which has effectively paralyzed the entire economy; Thar Coal Project will guarantee self-reliance on energy.

Furthermore, it will also help provide immense socio-economic benefits for the poor people of Thar as the project will catalyze the creation of social assets – medical facilities, educational institutions, infrastructural development and job opportunities.

Thar truly is the most viable power generation option for Pakistan and with SECMC’s unwavering commitment towards its development; it is bound to become the real “Hub of Power” in Pakistan.

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