A private mining company excavating coal in Tharparkar has announced to discover first layer of indigenous coal today (Sunday), SAMAA TV reported.
It said the coal was discovered at the depth of 140 meters after more than two years of exaction.
First electron will be generated from the power plant in December this year, announced Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC), a joint venture between the Sindh government and Engro Powergen.
The company said the successful extraction not only proves that Thar’s indigenous coal is exploitable but can produce thousands of megawatts of cheap electricity for many decades.
Former chief minister Sindh, Syed Murad Ali Shah, also announced it on Twitter.
“By the Grace of the Almighty, today we have reached “Black Gold” in Thar, as envisioned by Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto. This discovery of Coal is the result of the hard work and perseverance of #PPP govt, and the beginning of an energy sufficient Pakistan,” he tweeted.
Shamsuddin Shaikh, head of the SECMC, said the dream of discovering the coal from Tharparkar has come true after 25 years.
In Tharparkar, Sindh has one of the world’s largest coal reserves. The coal mine is set to become Pakistan’s biggest industrial site.
The estimated 175 billion tonnes of watery, low energy coal was first discovered in 1992 but because of its poor quality, most companies found it too costly to mine.
In 2012, SECMC, took up the challenge, convincing eight companies to join them, two of them Chinese.
They are also now building a 660 megawatt coal power plant nearby – which the company wants to increase to 3,300 MW by 2022 – and the government has improved roads and built an airport in the desert for the project.
Pakistan is not the only country using coal - one of the cheapest but also most polluting forms of energy - to help plug its growing energy needs.
Most new demand for coal-fired power stations is in Southeast Asia, although other countries including Bangladesh are also building new stations. - SAMAA/Reuters