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Pakistan to concentrate on Coal Reserves for Energy Production

Pakistan houses one of the largest coalfields in the world, spreading over 9,000 kilometer square. The Thar Desert in the Sindh province is estimated to have over 175 billion tonnes of coal. According to Shamsuddin A Shaikh, the Chief Executive Officer of Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC), this is equivalent to 50 billion tonnes of oil, more than the oil reserves of Saudi Arabia and Iran put together, and can be utilized to produce more than 100,000 MW of electricity for 200 years.

coal_thar

It is now an established fact that utilization of domestic coal is going to be the cheapest and most effective way for power generation in the long run. According to the National Transmission and Dispatch Company, the power demand will rise to 45,400MW in 2019-20, and 134,800MW in 2034-35. Whereas the country in unable to meet the increasing demand through the current power generation techniques, 40 percent of which rely on imported furnace oil_ a totally non affordable solution for an country going through its development phase.

There has been a long history of critics condemning the government for not utilizing Pakistan’s own domestic resource for power generation which has been gifted to her in so much abundance. Now, as the scarcity of energy is getting only worst with time, the focus is again shifted to the coal reserves.

Thar Coal

Recently, the government has finally taken some initiative in this regard. The Thar Coal Block-II has been allocated to the Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC). The Block-II, which comprises only 1 percent of the total reserves, contains 2.0 billion tonnes of lignite reserves, which are said to be capable of generating 5,000 MW for 50 years. SECMC has completed the Feasibility study for the project with the help of several renowned local and international consultants and is confident of the technical and commercial viability of the project.

The groundbreaking of the mining operations would be held on January 31. This project has capacity to change the complete picture of energy production for Pakistan. It will also bring tremendous opportunities of employment with social and urban uplifting of local regions, which are currently in a very underdeveloped state.

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