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Auction Of Thar Coal Mining Blocks To Fetch Investment Of $4-6bn

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Karachi

The Sindh government will be carrying out an auction of the four new mining blocks of Thar coal reserves which is expected to fetch an investment of around $4-6 billion.

A report published in Express Tribune cited the Provincial Minister for Energy Imtiaz Ahmed Shaikh as saying that the Chinese firm Shanghai Electric Power Company Limited (SEC) would possibly be investing over $2 billion in the Thar coal mining project. The said amount will also be invested in a 1320-megawatt coal-fired power project in the mine. SEC has recently launched the work on the second mining block of Thar coal reserves.

Moreover, a firm based in Saudi Arabia is currently involved in negotiations with the federal government for investment in Thar. The firm aims to utilise the coal for the production of gas to be used in fertiliser production.

The provincial minister for energy chaired a meeting of the Sindh Coal Authority on Tuesday and stated that during the meeting, the holding of an international auction for mining blocks of Thar coal reserves was approved.

Imtiaz Shaikh stated to media, “Each block may attract investment of around $1-1.5 billion.”

The blocks of Thar coal reserves which are ready to be auctioned include IV, VIII, X and XI. Block I and II are already being mined by both domestic and international firms.

The minister has further apprised media that Shanghai Electric is already engaged in mining work in block-II in collaboration with Sino-Sindh Resources Limited (SSRL).

He also stated that SEC’s investment in Thar coal was part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and that SEC would start producing electricity using Thar coal in the next two to three years.

According to CPEC’s website, SEC and SSRL would invest a total of $3.21 billion in coal mining and coal-based power projects in Thar coal block-II, and would be extracting 6.8 million tons of coal per annum.

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Currently, the Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company is extracting coal from Thar block-II and has already launched two coal power projects that can produce 330 megawatts each.

The provincial minister also informed that three more companies are waiting to launch three coal-fired projects of 330 megawatts each in the near future.

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