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Congratulations Pakistan: Thar coal plant starts producing electricity

News Desk |

The Thar Coal Power Project started electricity production on Tuesday, March 19, 2019, with 330MW of power being poured into the national grid.

A spokesperson of the Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) hailed the development as “historic” and said that initially 330MW will be produced and distributed to the national grid. He added that the production of electricity will be done in different stages.

“Thar has [one] of the world’s largest reserves of coal with 175 billion tonnes,” he said. “We reached the target of producing electricity three months before the deadline.”

The project is almost done well within the budgeted cost (investment) of $1.1 billion while we have significantly saved cost of the mining project, which was originally estimated at $845 million.

Pakistan discovered the Thar coalfields in 1991. According to statistics, these contain the world’s seventh largest coal reserves of 175 billion tonnes, more than the combined oil reserves of Saudi Arabia and Iran, and 68 times higher than Pakistan’s total gas reserves. SECMC is a group of seven stakeholders including the government of Sindh with 51 percent majority stake as well as Engro, the Habib Group, and Hubco.

The Thar coalfield is located approximately between Latitudes 24°15’N and 25°45’N and Longitudes 69° 45’E and 70° 45’E in the southern part of Sindh Province in the Survey of Pakistan topo-sheet Nos. 40 L/2,5 and 6. Based on available infrastructure and favourable geology, the Geological Survey of Pakistan selected four blocks near Islamkot for exploration and assessment of coal resources.

Read more: Can Pakistan overcome energy shortage with coal?

“We are scheduled to test one of the two 330-megawatt power plants based on Thar coal any day between March 20 and 25,” revealed Engro Powergen Thar CEO Ahsan Zafar Syed briefed local press.

The company will test the second plant in late April. “We are four months ahead of the timeline set for switching on the power plants,” he said. “The project is almost done well within the budgeted cost (investment) of $1.1 billion while we have significantly saved cost of the mining project, which was originally estimated at $845 million.”

Both the plants will be connected to the national grid one by one through the 232km Thar-Mitiari transmission line during their testing phase.

Read more: Why Pakistan’s energy policy will create an environmental hazard?

Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah congratulated the start of the project, “What a great day for Pakistan! The first 330MW power plant based on Thar coal synced with National Grid. Grateful to Almighty Allah, and humbled to have been able to play a small part as Sindh is firmly putting Pakistan on the road to energy security!”


Ahsan Iqbal, former Minister for planning and development also congratulated the kickoff, claiming credit for PML-N government, “Congrats! Thar’s first coal power project is in production. Thar coal deposits equal to Saudi Arabia’s and Iran’s oil deposits energy value. For 70 yrs these were untouched. #PMLN govt secured financing under #CPEC for Thar mining and power projects and today dream is reality. “