Phulbari coal mine

From Global Energy Monitor

Phulbari coal mine is a proposed mine, owned by Global Coal Management Resources (GCM), set to produce 16 million tonnes per annum, for the Phulbari Coal Project (Sinohydro) in Rangpur division, Bangladesh.[1]

Location

The map below shows the location of Phulbari upazila, the approximate location of the project, in Dinajpur district, Rangpur division.

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Background

GCM Resources, formerly Asia Energy Corporation, is a British company established with the sole purpose of building a coal mine and power plant in Phulbari. The company, as Asia Energy, had an earlier proposal for a mine and power plant in the 2000's (see Phulbari Coal Project (Asia Energy)). That proposal was met with considerable resistance, with three people having been killed and more than 200 injured by police in a public protest against the proposal in August 2006.

In September 2018 GCM Resources announced that China's Sinohydro Corporation (of Chinese engineering and construction firm PowerChina) will undertake a pre-feasibility study for a 4,000 MW Phulbari mine-mouth power plant. GCM has stated that this is a separate proposal from the earlier 2,000-MW proposal with China Energy Engineering Corporation's China Gezhouba, the Phulbari Coal Project (China Gezhouba).[2] A report released in November 2018 concluded that the proposed Phulbari coal mine could power 6,000 MW of coal plants.[3]

In January 2019 GCM Resources signed a joint venture agreement and EPC contract with PowerChina for the proposed development of two 1,000-MW mine-mouth coal-fired power units with an approximate investment of US$4 billion.[4][5] In March 2019, GCM signed a second Joint Venture Agreement with PowerChina in relation to the second phase (2 x 1,000MW units).[6]

According to the GCM Resources 2019 Annual Report, "PowerChina has seen feasibility studies and proposals for the 4,000MW Phases I and II completed." Additionally: "The arrangements with PowerChina also carry an obligation to conduct any required power plant feasibility studies, facilitate the inclusion of the Project in the ‘One Belt, One Road Initiative’ of the People’s Republic of China, and assist with financing the power plants."[7]

In July 2019, GCM Resources announced it had entered into a bilateral agreement with China Nonferrous Metal Industry and Power Construction Corporation of China (PowerChina) to jointly manage the Phulbari Coal Mine project.[8]

In February 2020, GCM Resources said it has secured a US$1.5 million increase to its existing loan facility of US$3 million with Polo Resources Ltd, raising the total loan amount to US$4.5 million. GCM plans to use the loan on its partnerships with PowerChina, Power Construction Corp of China, and China Nonferrous Metal Industry's Foreign Engineering and Construction Co for the development of the Phulbari coal & power project.[9]

Protests

In December 2018, protesters with Phulbari Solidarity Group, Extinction Rebellion, and Reclaim the Power blocked the entrance to GCM Resources' shareholder meeting in London, in a protest against the proposed project.[10]

Cancellation risk

In August 2020, signalling a potential pivot in Bangladesh away from coal power towards increased reliance on gas-based power from imported liquified natural gas (LNG), Bangladesh’s minister of power, energy and mineral resources, Nasrul Hamid, stated that the government is planning to review an array of planned coal plants with the exception of three which are in construction and nearing completion: the Rampal power station, the Matarbari power station and the Payra power station. According to Minister Hamid, "We are reviewing how we can move from coal-based power plants." Phulbari Coal Project (Sinohydro) is, therefore, likely to be reviewed by the government which may cause delays to the project or even cancellation.[11]

On November 19, 2020, The Daily Star reported that Bangladesh's power, energy and mineral resources ministry had finalized an energy plan that cancelled all coal plants except five under construction. The Phulbari Coal Projects will likely be cancelled as a result. The ministry will soon send the plan to the Prime Minister's Office for review.[12]

Project Details

  • Owner: GCM Resources
  • Operator: GCM Resources
  • Location: Phulbari upazila, Dinajpur district, Rangpur division, Bangladesh
  • Coordinates: 25.9468733, 89.5532405 (approximate)
  • Status: Proposed, Announced
  • Productive Capacity: 16 million tonnes per annum
  • Coal Type: Bituminous
  • Projected in service:
  • Mine Type: Surface, Open Pit
  • Mineable Reserve: 572 million tonnes[1]
  • Mine Size:14,660 acres[1]
  • Source of financing:

Articles and Resources

Sources

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 International Accountability Project, Phulbari Coal Project Fact Sheet, 2020
  2. "Prefeasibility Study for Further Mine-Mouth Power Plants," GCM, Sep 11, 2018
  3. "GCM Resources receives power plant pre-feasibility assessment ">GCM Resources receives power plant pre-feasibility assessment," World Coal, November 6, 2018
  4. "GCM and POWERCHINA Inks US$4bn Power Deal," Energy Bangla, January 17, 2019
  5. GCM, POWERCHINA to develop $4bn coal-fired power project in Bangladesh, Mining & Quarry World, 21 Jan. 2019.
  6. GCM Resources, PowerChina ink 2nd coal-fired power plant JV deal at Phulbari, S&P Global, 15 Mar. 2019.
  7. Annual Report and Accounts 2019, GCM Resources, 2019
  8. "GCM Resources signs agreement to develop its Phulbari Coal Mine," Vox Markets, July 11, 2019
  9. "GCM Resources Secures GBP1.2 Million Increase To Polo Resources Loan". MorningstarUK. 2020-02-03. Retrieved 2020-06-09.
  10. Environmental activists confront coal-mining executives at shareholders' meeting in London, Morning Star, 28 Dec. 2018.
  11. Tom Baxter, "Bangladesh may ditch 90% of its planned coal power," China Dialogue, August 27, 2020
  12. Roy, Pinaki (2020-11-19). "Future not coal power". The Daily Star. Retrieved 2020-11-19.

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