Thar Coal reserves are estimated by the Geological Survey of Pakistan to be approximately 175 billion tons – making it one of the largest lignite coal reserves in the world. Pakistan is currently facing a serious energy crisis: the energy shortfall exceeds 6,000 MW. The rapid increase in energy demand from growing demographic pressures and intense industrialization has contributed to the crisis. Coal plays a minor role in Pakistan’s energy mix, despite the Thar Desert having one of the largest undeveloped coal reserves in the world. Pakistan’s annual demand for coal exceeds supply; therefore, Pakistan relies upon imported coal to fulfill its requirements, particularly for industrial uses. The overall objective of developing Thar coal deposits is to generate electric power from in-country coal resources, to reduce the country’s dependence on imported coal, and to contribute towards bridging the gap between electricity supply and demand.
Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) has undertaken the execution of mining operations for coal extraction in the Thar coalfield, Block II, as a means of tackling energy deficiency across Pakistan. The area has exploitable lignite coal reserves of 1.57 billion tons. SECMC has made several investments for this project, which include the acquisition of land for the resettlement of communities, mining facilities and services, and power plants. SECMC will execute the project in three phases. The first phase of the Project is underway, in which, two 330 MW sub critical plants will be established with majority share of Engro Powergen. The total mining capacity of the project is due to be 20.6 MT/anum and its power generation capacity is projected to be 3,960 MW.
Tharparkar – the largest desert terrain in Pakistan – is home to a population of 1.5 million. Unlike other deserts across the world, the Tharparkar desert is not barren and dry, its flora and fauna flourish during the monsoon season, transforming its sand dunes to rolling green hills. The district is ranked the lowest amongst provincial socioeconomic indicators, and 32nd as per national comparison.
SECMC’s involvement and interaction with its local community during its mining, land acquisition and resettlement related activities will increase as it will work to benefit its people by building and developing sustainable and independent livelihoods, providing education and health care, housing, improved water and sanitation conditions, while empowering men and women with employment and other benefits.