KARACHI - The 14th meeting of Thar Coal and Energy Board was held at Chief Minister House on Saturday under the chairmanship of Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah.

The meeting was also attended by Syed Naveed Qamar, Federal Minister for Water & Power, Syed Murad Ali Shah, Sindh Minister for Finance, M Zubair Motiwala, Chairman Sindh Board of Investment, Imtiaz Hussain Qazi, Secretary Water & Power, Raja Muhammad Abbas, Chief Secretary Sindh, MNA Mrs Rubina Saadat Qaimkhani, Mohammad Younus Dagha, Secretary Coal and Energy Development Department, GoS/Managing Director Thar Coal and Energy Board, Secretary to CM Sindh Agha Jan Akhtar and others.

Chief Minister Sindh welcomed the participants of the meeting and said the government is fully committed to the development of Thar coal project which has the potential of turning the country’s economy around. Thar coal resources, he said, can be used for power generation, chemical production and other uses and has the potential of providing energy security to the country. He added that basic infrastructure and facilities are being ensured at the project site.

Mohammad Younus Dagha, Secretary Coal and Energy Development Department, briefed the forum that Government of Sindh is financing and executing development of infrastructure projects like roads, water supply, waste water disposal, airport and Reverse Osmosis Plants for potable water for local people and project developers on fast track basis.  He also informed that for laying of transmission line from Thar to Matiari, NTDC has completed the PC-I at the cost of Rs 20b with detailed technical designs and submitted it to the Planning Commission. “Federal Government is urged to arrange funding for this critical project either from PSDP or from international lenders like Asian Development Bank, China Development Bank or Japan International Cooperation Agency,” he said.

Syed Naveed Qamar assured the forum that the project of transmission line will be expedited. Imtiaz Qazi gave update on the project financing through Pak-China Joint Energy Working Group and informed that the next meeting will be held in March. The Working Group is likely to finalize financial assistance for Thar Block II Coal Mining & Power Project of Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company during its upcoming meeting.

Zubair Motiwala briefed the Board about the process of third International Competitive Bidding and said that four companies China Three Gorges Corporation, Thar Coal & Power Consortia, Tae Ryun Co Ltd and Australasian Continental Energy Pvt Ltd had submitted proposals for coal mining & power generation projects in Thar. Besides these companies, a US-based consortium Thar Pak also submitted proposal to develop coal-based projects in Thar. He further briefed the forum about proposed projects of all companies and their technical/financial strength. On the recommendations of the Evaluation Committee, the Thar Coal and Energy Board approved the allocation of Block IV of Thar Coalfield to China Three Gorges Corporation, which will develop open pit mine of 20 million tons per year and mine mouth power plant of 3000MW in two phases. In the first phase by 2016, they will develop open pit mine of 10 million tons per year and power plant of 1500MW.

Shahrukh Khan, Chief Executive Officer of Oracle Coalfields, UK presented its detailed Feasibility Study for Coal Mining and Power Generation Project at Block VI of Thar Coalfield. Oracle Coalfields, UK is investing $610 million for a coal mine of 5 million ton per year capacity. Oracle has also signed a MoU with KESC to develop initially a 300MW mine-mouth power plant with plan to develop up to 1100 MW at the Block VI site. Initial coal production is expected in 2014. The Board appreciated the work of Oracle Coalfields and assured them of government’s support.