KARACHI: The Thar coal power project on Tuesday started operations by transferring 330MW to the national grid, an official said.
At the initial stage, the power plant will produce 330MW, which will be transferred to the national grid, an official said. Thar coalfields, discovered in 1991, have the largest reserves of 175 billion tonnes.
The official said the Thar power project, which started operations three months before schedule, will be completed in a phased manner.
Despite reservations by various elements, the provincial government and the Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) continued their efforts for the success of the project.
Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has welcomed the start of electricity production at the plant and termed it a historic day for the country.
Zhao Lijian, deputy chief of mission at the Chinese Embassy, said: “Warmest congratulations! Thar Coal block II power plant successfully synchronised the first of the two units. It is a joint venture by Engro & CMEC under CPEC. It has made history, as Pakistan is now producing electricity by Thar coal.”
The Thar coalfields contain more than the combined oil reserves of energy-rich Saudi Arabia and Iran, and 68 times higher than Pakistan’s total gas reserves.
Singh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC), a group of seven stakeholders, including the government of Sindh with 51 percent majority stake, as well as Engro, Habib Group and Hubco, has dug 148 metres down block-II in Thar coalfields in the last nine years.
SECMC has been allotted Block-II, which carries only one percent of the total reserves in Thar.
In the second phase of Thar coal Block-II project, two other companies, Thar Energy Limited (TEL) and ThalNova, will each set up 330MW plants by 2021. Block-II will increase coal production by 3.8 million tonnes in each phase.