Thar to transform energy deficiency to a surplus Pakistan: Qaim Ali Shah

Sindh Chief Minister, Syed Qaim Ali Shah said Friday that Thar had the largest coal reserves and could greatly help transform the country’s energy deficiency to a surplus.

He was talking to the Chairman of China Machinery Engineering Corporation(CMEC), Sun Bai at a breakfast meeting and while addressing the Chinese power and mining companies, banks, Chinese and Pakistani Financial Institutions at a luncheon here.

The Chief Minister, who was in Beijing on the second leg of his visit to China highlighted the abundant investment potential of Thar coal in meeting energy needs of the country.

He said that the government was creating an enabling environment for potential investors in developing infrastructure, coal mining, coal and wind power generation in the province.

He said that Thar coal fields had estimated reserves of 175 billion tons. These reserves could be utilized to produce 100,000 MW of power for many decades.

He further said that the current focus of the energy fuel mix was on developing indigenous energy resources, adding that reliance on alternative sources would help save billions of dollars in foreign exchange, currently being spent on import of expensive refined furnace oil (RFO).

Syed Qaim Ali Shah pointed out that public private partnership had been initiated through an international competitive bidding process to ensure fast track development of Thar coal.

He assured on behalf of the government, provision of requisite infrastructure adding that investors would find Thar as an exceptionally peaceful area.

He expressed satisfaction over the participation of key Chinese contractors in the bidding process of Thar coal mining and power project and on financial institutions keen interest in financing, allowing further boost to economic cooperation between our two nations.

He said that the Board of Investment is providing one window solutions to streamline investors’ requirements.

Syed Qaim Ali Shah informed Sun Bai that the government was determined to developing the resources for the benefit of the people and to put the country on road to prosperity.

He said that the government offered guaranteed return on equity investment of 20% in USD terms for all Thar coal based mining and power projects, in order to encourage greater investor participation. Chairman Sun Bai evinced keen interest in the development of Thar coal, power, wind power and infrastructure projects in Sindh province and said that his company had rich experience of accomplishing such projects. The CEO, Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) Shamsuddin A Sheikh speaking on the occasion said that the Thar coal mining and power project was on and the company was determined to completing the project in shortest possible time. He said that all the bidders for power and mining projects had visited the site and every one of them gave a positive feedback.

The presence of these top Chinese companies and banks today is a testament to their belief that Thar was indeed a technically and commercially viable project, he added. He said that the Sindh government was 51pc equity holder in SECMC which is the lease holder of Bloc II of Thar.

He pointed out that said that the government of Sindh has taken up the responsibility to provide all infrastructure needed for mining of coal at Thar including raods, airport, fresh water supply and effluent disposal.

Earlier, the Chief Minister of Sindh witnessed the signing ceremony of 249.6 MW Engineering Procurement Construction (EPC) contract signed between NBT Wind Power Pakistan II, a subsidiary of NBT Pakistan Holding Ptv Ltd of Singapore (NBT) and Harbin Electric International to build the largest wind farm in Pakistan using 156 units of 1.6 MW wind turbines made in China.NBT is developing 650 MW of wind farms in the wind corridor of Sindh.

NBT, Harbin Electric International and GE are working jointly with a bank syndicate on project financing for this wind farm.The EPC contract includes 5 years of operation and maintenance services to wind turbines. The wind farm would have a construction time of two years and will bring much needed clean, renewable electricity to help alleviate the power crisis in Pakistan.

It is estimated that the wind farm will produce approximately 700 gigawatts per year upon completion.

A Memorandum of Understanding was inked between China Power International Holding for putting up power plants for 6000 MWs.

Also signatory to this MoU were SECMC and Global Mining Company(GMC)/Sino Sindh Resources (SSR).

Initially China Power International Holding will install power plant of 1200 MW. Coal supply would be by SECMC and GMC/SSR from Bloack II and I from Thar Coal.