According to newspaper reports, the federal and the Sindh governments have jointly envisaged coal mining and power generation projects involving local and foreign investors. A consortium led by China Machinery Engineering Corporation is ready to finance the coal-based power plant with two 330-megawatt units in Thar and a coal mining project for power generation. The Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company and the Engro Powergen Thar Limited are developing the first phase of the project at a cost $2 billion and singed the financing agreement with Chinese consortium in Beijing. In term of Pakistani rupees, a syndicate of local banks, led by Habib Bank Limited, United Bank Limited, Bank Alfalah Limited, and Faysal Bank Limited, will extend Rs 52 billion for the mining project and Rs 22 billion for associate power plant. The China Development Bank, Construction Bank of China and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China comprised the foreign investors and will provide $820 million loan.
The Ministry of Finance has already approved drafts of the agreements and the government has given sovereign guarantee of $700 million to underwrite the loan taken by Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company. The project is additional part of the China Pak Economic Corridor and is expected to be commissioned by 2018. The phase II of the project, the capacity of the mine will be expanded to 7.6 mtpa and another 660 megawatt power plant facility will be constructed as part of the economic corridor. The Sindh government has also signed agreements with Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company and Water Utilization Agreement with Engro Powergen Thar Limited under which it is liable to develop the required infrastructure to facilitate the mining project. According to experts, both the projects will usher in an era of energy security and economic prosperity for Pakistan.
As a matter of fact, both the projects are very crucial for the country as Pakistan has one of the largest coal reserves in the world but energy crisis has been haunting the nation for the last many decades. The world is heading toward global warming and Pakistan is among the 10 countries of the world which are the victims of climate change. The glaciers of the country are melting with double speed due to carbon and lead which are proportionately emanating from industries in India and China. In this situation, the Pakistani government must consult scientists to keep the effects of global warming and coal combustion within limits. Economy is very important for the country but it should not be improved at the cost of human life and health.