Prime Minister performs Ground-Breaking of Thar Coal Power Project

Islamabad, January 31, 2014 (PPI-OT): Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif has said that the era of rifted politics is gone and our united stand shows that national interest reigns supreme. He along with former President Asif Ali Zardari performed ground-breaking of the US $ 1.6 billion Thar Coal power project to help the country meet its energy needs.

Chief Minister Sind Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Chief Minister Balochistan Dr. Abdul Malik, Federal and Provincial Ministers, Chairman Engro Corporation Mr. Hussain Dawood, senior officers and representatives of Engro Corp. were present on the occasion. Prime Minister thanked former President Asif Zardari for inviting him to the ground-breaking of the Thar Coal project and said it was a matter of satisfaction that “we are together and have the same priorities.”

“Anyone who believes in the development of Pakistan, would be pleased that the country’s political leadership is together on this national event”, said the PM. He further said that all political parties need to accept the mandate of the people. He appreciated former President Asif Ali Zardari for open-heartedly accepting the success of the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) government in the 2013 general election, as his party (PML-N) did in 2008 elections for Pakistan Peoples Party. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif termed the Thar Coal project a big national development project and hoped Thar coal would also be used in Gaddani Power projects.

He said that the government was working on several power generation projects including hydel and nuclear generation. Enumerating various power projects, PM said that the recently launched civil nuclear power project in Karachi would generate 2200 Mega Watt (MW), while the Dasu, Diamir Basha and Bunji dams on Indus River would generate 15,000 MW electricity. Prime Minister said that three power projects which would be completed by 2017 include Jhimpir Wind Power project in Thatta, CASA 1000 and Tarbela Dam up-gradation.

He further said that efforts were afoot to import Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) and hoped that in one and a half year, the problem of gas shortage in the country would be addressed. Prime Minister also seconded the suggestion of former President Asif Ali Zardari for setting up an industrial park in Thar that would generate employment for the people. He said the Federal Government will contribute in its development. “The progress of any province is the prosperity of entire Pakistan,” he added.

While referring to Youth Business Loan Scheme, the Prime Minister said quota on the basis of population of the province would be ensured and there would be no discrimination with any province.

It may be noted that the Thar Coal Power Project is a public – private partnership between the Government of Sind and M/s ENGRO Powergen. In Phase I, the project will develop coal mine with a capacity of 3.8 million tonnes per annum and 660 megawatt power generation plant by 2017. The project in Block-II of Tharparkar District is spread over an area of 79.6 square kilometres. According to a feasibility study, the project is commercially viable and has no significant environmental threats and social implications.

Subsequently, the mine will be expanded to a coal capacity of 6.5 million tons per annum to support a 1300 MW power plant. In Phase II, it is planned to expand mining project to 13.5 million tons and 19.5 million tons, with a power generation capacity of 2400 MW and 3600 MW. Thar coal field has an estimated lignite reserves of 175 billion tons, equivalent to total oil reserves of Saudi Arabia and Iran combined and can be used to produce 100,000 MW for hundreds of years, according to the data available by SECMC.

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