Published On:January 10 2012
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Japan keen on financing Thar coalfield transmission line

The Pakistan Today reported that Japan has shown interest to finance the much needed laying of the transmission line up to the Thar coalfield, which is needed to expedite power generation from the coalfield.

An official source said that interest was recently expressed by the Japan International Cooperation Agency in a meeting with the officials of the Thar Coal and Energy Board. JICA asked TCEB officials to approach Japanese government through Foreign Office, for financing the project as the agency has the resource to finance the project. Japan has been historically averse to finance coal power projects due to environmental issues, but its stance has dramatically changed after the damage to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, after it was hit by tsunami on March 11th 2011, the source said adding that now they were keen to finance coal power projects even in other provinces.

Keeping in view possible evacuation of 10,000 MW from Thar coalfield within next 5 to 10 years National Transmission and Dispatch Company with the support of Asian Development Bank, has initiated a feasibility study for laying 1300 kilometers of transmission line to initially disperse up to 3000 MW from the Thar coal field to the national grid. The source said total estimated funding required for laying transmission line was estimated USD 1 billion, which could be only arranged through international donor agencies.

Pakistan has huge coal reserves mainly in Sindh estimated at 186 billion tonnes, Punjab 235 billion tonnes, Balochistan 217 billion tonnes, Pukhtoonkhwa 90 billion tonnes and Azad Jammu Kashmir nine billion tonnes. These coal reserves can be used for affordable power generation for about 200 years.

Recently an underground coal gasification pilot project at the Thar coalfield managed by eminent scientist Dr Samar Mubarakmand has successfully started. He said requested the prime minister to arrange immediate funding of PKR 2.4 billion and remaining PKR 7.8 billion during the next financial year to complete power generation phase of the project to start providing 100 MW of electricity before the end of 2013.

Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company has been formed and it has completed a bankable feasibility by engaging world renowned companies, including RWE of Germany and Sinocoal of China. The first mine and power plant is expected to be commissioned by 2015-16. The estimated cost for the project is USD 3.6 billion. Chinese companies have shown interest in the project.

(Sourced from

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