UK firm to invest $610 million in Thar coal

KARACHI: A UK mining and power generation company plans to invest up to $610 million in Thar coal-mining and power generation with a projection of starting coal production of around five million tons per annum by 2014 and initial power generation of 300MW.

This was disclosed by chief executive of Oracle Coalfields Plc, UK Shah Roukh Khan, during a joint press briefing held long with secretary of Coal and Energy, Sindh, Younus Dagha, in the office of Coal and Energy Department, Sindh here on Monday.

Shah Roukh further stated that his company had completed feasibility study of coal-mining and power generation project at Block VI allocated to Oracle Coalfields in Thar coalfield having a lease area of around 66.21 square metres.

He disclosed that his company during two years feasibility study of coal mining in Thar had made milestone achievement and found consistency of quality in coal reserves and termed them a ‘world class asset.’

He said that the project would help resolve Pakistan’s energy crisis and felt that it was an excellent investment.

Mr Khan said that results of technical feasibility study undertaken by his company confirm technical and economic viability of the Thar coal-mining and power generation project.

He further disclosed that the feasibility study results concentrated on an initial mining area within Block VI of approximately 20sq meters found to be in accordance with the internationally-recognised 2004 Australian JORC Code, a mineral resource of 529 million of tons. However, there is potential to increase reserves in the Phase II of the mining area and its life could be extended by another 30 years.

This area, he explained, is less than one third of Block VI which in turn is less than one percentage of the Thar coalfield area.

The company has already entered into an understanding with KESC by singing an MoU to initially develop 300MW coal-fired power project which could be expanded and upgraded up to 1100MW at Block VI site, he added.

Responding to a question, he said that a comprehensive environmental and social impact assessment in compliance with the both local regulators’ requirements and international standards would be ensured.

Shah Roukh Khan said his company is listed on stock exchange in UK and was over-subscribed when shares were offered for public subscription.

Younus Dagha said that total mining area of Thar coal fields is 9,000 sq metres and the government has so far only allocated 12 blocks of 1200sq metres of 100km each.

There plans to get oil from coal and presently a Chinese company is working at Block 4 and Engro has achieved significant progress in gasification of coal.

Mr Dagha said some major roads have already been built around the Thar coal-fields but government has further approved Rs6 billion for road network to improve infrastructure facilities.

Similarly, he said around three million gallons per day would be supplied to Thar coal fields from Nara Canal and arrangements would also be made to supply waste water from LOBD.

Responding to another question, he said that work on transmission line from Matiari to Thar will soon start.

He disclosed that coal generated power plants would produce energy at 60 per cent less cost than other sources, particularly furnace oil.

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