Pakistan has made history by unearthing the first layer of Thar Coal. In December this year, electricity production will begin using the recently uncovered coal reservoir. Pakistan achieved this with the help of China as Thar Coal and Power projects are part of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Sindh Engro Coal Mining (SECMC) spokesperson told ProPakistani that on Sunday, June, 10th, 2018, the first layer of Thar Coal was unearthed after removing 90 million cubic meters of sand and mud, and dewatering the second acquirer. To reach this coal reserves, SECMC dug an open pit mine about 140 meters (or 460 feet deep) at Thar Coal Block II. The achievement was made five months ahead of the schedule.
SECMC Chief Executive Officer Shamsuddin Shaikh, Senior management and workers celebrated this historic moment at the bottom of the mine pit.
The total Thar Coal reserves are estimated at 2.04 billion tons which can provide cheap energy for decades. With this Engro Powergen Thar Limited (EPTL) is putting up 2 mine-mouth power generation plants with a total capacity of 660 MW. These power plants are targeting to begin power generation operations before the end of this year.
SECMC is a Joint Venture between Sindh Government and six private sponsors including Engro Energy, Thal Ltd, Habib Bank Ltd, Hubco, and two Chinese companies CMEC and SPIC. SECMC is the largest Public Private Partnership in Pakistan to explore and develop Pakistan’s first open-pit coal mine with an annual output of 3.8 million tons.
“It’s a matter of great pride for the nation that country’s indigenous energy resource will play a key role in circumventing the current energy crisis. This is the moment for which all Pakistanis had been waiting for the past 25 years, ever since coal was first discovered in Thar,” said Shaikh.
Shaikh added that SECMC have completed 16 million safe man-hours while removing 90 million cubic meters of overburden (earth), and did it 5 months ahead of schedule, targeting a savings of USD 110 million versus the budgeted cost.
Sharing the future plans, Mr. Shaikh said that company plans to rapidly expand the mine in Block-II to reach its optimum capacity to produce 5000 MWs by 2024 which will drastically reduce the coal price making Thar Block-II not only the cheapest block in Thar, it will be the cheapest base load energy resource in the country with a power tariff of approximately 5 US cents per kWH.
He requested both the Federal & Provincial governments to hold the development of all other Thar coal blocks until SECMC’s Block II reaches its optimum capacity which will allow Thar coal to provide the cheapest electricity to consumers.