Tabas power station

From Global Energy Monitor
This article is part of the CoalSwarm coverage of proposed coal plants worldwide.

Tabas power station (نيروگاه زغال سوز طبس) is a 650-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power station under development in Tabas, Iran.

Site preparation or construction appeared slow and stalled for many years, so the power station was presumed shelved or cancelled. However, in 2021, a senior energy official said the units were still "on the agenda" and expected to join the national grid by 2024.


The map below may center at or near the construction site for the power station. Initial construction work may be reflected in recent Planet satellite imagery, but it is uncertain if the location reflects the construction site referenced in 2021 news. Google Maps lists the project 5 kilometers East,[1] but there is no clear activity at the location.

The project is proposed 85 kilometers of the city of Tabas and in proximity to the Mazino coal mine.[2][3][4]

Loading map...

Tabas Power Station locations.jpg

Background on Plant

The plant was proposed as Iran's first coal power generation plant. Construction of the plant in Tabas commenced in 2000. The government initially funded the project, but gradual and protracted funding impeded progress.[5][6]

In November 2012, it was reported that Iran planned to develop the plant with the assistance of Chinese financial backing, at a cost of US$1 billion. The power station would generate 650 MW of electricity when it became operational, four years after financing is secured. The project was reported as likely to be kicked off by the end of Iran's Fifth Five-Year Economic Development Plan (2015).[7]

In 2012, the project was listed as under construction.[8][9]

In March 2015, the governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) approved opening of a Chinese letter of credit to help accelerate development of the plant. The plant was reported as 25% complete.[5]

In December 2016, it was reported that a consortium of Iran’s MAPNA Group and China-based Shanghai Electric of State Power Investment Corporation would develop the project. The plant was still reported as 25% complete.[10]

In December 2017, the plant was reported to be abandoned.[11]

However, in June 2020, another article noted that construction had registered "70% progress" based on the Energy Ministry news website, Paven.[12] In July 2020, the Iran-based Tasmin News also reported that the first shipment of turbine equipment had arrived and construction on the power station would be resumed.[13]

Around November 2021, Mohsen Tarztalab, the head of the Thermal Power Plants Holding Company, visited Tabas. He said "the construction of this power plant with two units of 325 MW is on the agenda," with the units expected to join the national grid in the Persian year of 1403 which begins in March 2024. The senior energy official also announced that Iran has to build 5,000 megawatts of coal-fired power capacity in the coming years due to limitations of gas supplies to power plants in cold seasons and the need to diversify the fuel mix.[14][15][16]

The power station was the subject of another article a few weeks later, which involved a long interview with one of the managers of the project.[17]

Planet satellite imagery of what may be the construction site through January 2021, June 2021, and December 2021 did not appear to show any progress from initial construction that took place in January 2016.

In November 2021, the Secretary of the Iranian Coal Association is quoted in the Mine & Mining Industries News, saying: "It was decided to build a coal-fired power plant in the Tabas region to supply part of the country's electricity through coal, but this did not happen."[18]

Construction company

Omran Azarestan is a construction company involved in the project.[19] In January 2022, they posted a video on Instagram with the following caption: "• پروژه ي عمليات آماده سازي ، حفاري ، انفجار ، بارگيري ، باطله برداري ، استخراج ، جاده سازي و گريدرزني ، آبپاشي ، حمل باطله به محل هاي تعيين شده در معدن ذغال سنگ مزينوي نيروگاه طبس." (Google Translate: "Project preparation, drilling, blasting, loading, tailings, extraction, road construction and grading, spraying, tailings transportation to designated locations in the Mazino coal mine of Tabas power plant.")[20]

In June 2022, Omran Azarestan had the plant listed as an "ongoing project" on their website.[21]


The first 25% of the plant was constructed with financing from the Government of Iran.[22] Then, in 2016, it was reported that the Export Development Bank of Iran and a consortium Chinese financial institutions providing a total of US$1 billion in loans were bringing the coal energy project back to life.[23][24] The Climate Policy Initiative reported that the Export-Import Bank of China had agreed to provide US$850 million of the total US$1 billion in loans.[25]

Coal source

The Tabas region in South Khorasan Province holds about 55-76% of Iran’s coal reserves, with an estimated proven coal reserve of 2.5 billion tonnes, including 1.1 billion tonnes of coking coal in Parvadeh region and 1.4 billion tonnes of thermal coal in the Mazino area, according to Iranian news sources. In 2015, it was reported that the coal concentrate output of the Tabas Parvadeh Coal Company was set to reach two million tonnes per annum from the current 750,000 tonnes, as part of a five-year development plan. The increase would be financed by the Chinese MCC Group.[26]

In April 2020, workers of the Tabas coal mine protested against the poor conditions, especially with the coronavirus. They were concerned about the dining hall, proximity of workers, and closed work environment worsening coronavirus risks. Though many mines were closed following the COVID-19 outbreak, the Tabas coal mine started operations again on April 26.[27] Families of the workers also protested against the re-start of Tabas operations.[28]

In July 2021, the Tabas open coal mine of Mazinavi reportedly held an opening ceremony. It is located approximately 5 kilometers from the proposed power plant and expected to produce 2 million tons of coal per year.[29]


In early April 2008, workers at Tabas plant walked out over unpaid salaries.[30]

On May 12, 2015, 150 workers at Tabas plant stopped working to protest the 1.5 months delay in their salaries. The workers also cited poor working conditions that have resulted in death and injury, as reasons for their protest.[31]

On May 25, 2015, workers at Tabas plant protested in front of the management office about not getting paid their wages for 4 months and “poor services.”[32]

In April 2016, workers employed for the Tabas plant protested for not receiving their pay. They were concerned about their employee-employer contracts and worried about getting fired due to financial costs.[33]

In November 2017, former workers of the Tabas plant protested after being fired from their jobs. It is said that 250 workers were fired due to financial problems.[34]

In March 2017, about 50 workers from the Tabas plant gathered in front of the Tabas governor’s office to demand their three-month missing wages. Protestors said that none of the mine’s managers were being held accountable for missing wages.[35]

Project Details

  • Sponsor: Tavanir Corp
  • Parent company: MAPNA Group, Shanghai Electric (of parent company State Power Investment Corporation)
  • Location: Tabas, Khorasan, Iran
  • Coordinates: 33.227766, 56.2413204 (approximate)
  • Status: Construction
  • Capacity: 650 MW (Units 1-2: 325 MW)
  • Type:
  • Start date: 2024
  • Coal Type:
  • Coal Source: Tabas region, South Khorasan Province
  • Source of financing: The Government of Iran;[22] Export Development Bank of Iran;[23] US$1 billion in debt from Chinese financial institutions, including US$850 million from Export-Import Bank of China[24][25]
  • Permits and applications:

Articles and resources


  1. "نيروگاه زغال سوز طبس" Google Maps, accessed February 2022
  2. "Fadjr Mazinoyi Mineral Co.," Mazino, accessed in 2021
  3. "Iran to construct 1st coal power plant," December 14, 2016
  4. "The Composition Of Coals In The Mazino Coal Deposit, Tabas Coalfield, Central Iran," Research Journal Of University Of Isfahan "Science", Volume 30, Number 1 (GEOLOGY), 2008
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Chinese LC for Tabas Power Plant," Financial Tribune, March 5, 2015
  6. "Current projects," Omran Azarestan Construction Co., accessed August 2014
  7. Diarmaid Williams, "Iran plans $1bn coal fired power plant," Power Engineering International, November 28, 2012
  8. "Design and construction of civil works, Tabs Fossil-Fuel Power Station," Omran Azarestan, 2012
  9. "Gov't to develop coal plants," Iran Daily, November 24, 2014
  10. "China to build Iran’s first coal-fired power plant," Energy Central, December 15, 2016
  11. "Iranian Coal Potential Untapped," Financial Tribune, December 25, 2017
  12. "Work in Progress at 650 MW Tabas Coal Power Plant," Financial Tribune, June 1, 2020
  13. "عملیات اجرایی ساخت واحدهای بخار نیروگاه زغال‌سوز طبس آغاز شد," Tasmin News, July 23, 2020
  14. "Iran to build 5,000 MW of coal-fired power capacity," PressTV, November 17, 2021
  15. "ساخت ۵۰۰۰ مگاوات نیروگاه زغال‌سنگ سوز در کشور," ILNA, August 26, 2021
  16. "فرصت بی‌نظیر توسعه نیروگاه‌های زغال‌‎سوز/ مشکل برق فصل زمستان چگونه حل می‌شود," Fars News, 2021
  17. "صفر تا صد برنامه وزارت نیرو برای نیروگاه‌های ذغال‌سنگ‌سوز/آب مورد نیاز نیروگاه طبس چگونه تامین می‌شود؟," Fars News, 2021
  18. "Ignore coal in the field of energy: No investment has been made in the exploitation of coal reserves," Mine & Mining Industries News, November 17, 2021
  19. "Omran Azarestan," Company website, accessed in February 2022
  20. "January 18, 2022 post," "omran.azarestan" Instagram account, accessed February 2022
  21. "Design and construction of civil works of BOP of coal-fired power plant of Tabas (2*325) MW," Omran Azarestan, accessed June 9, 2022
  22. 22.0 22.1 "Chinese LC for Tabas Power Plant," Financial Tribune, March 4, 2015
  23. 23.0 23.1 "Coal Power Plant Project Runs Into Controversy," Financial Tribune, December 22, 2016
  24. 24.0 24.1 "China’s Expanding Overseas Coal Power Industry: New Strategic Opportunities, Commercial Risks, Climate Challenges and Geopolitical Implications," EUCERS, August 2016
  25. 25.0 25.1 "Slowing the Growth of Coal Power Outside China: The Role of Chinese Finance," Climate Policy Initiative, November 2015
  26. "Coal Co. Sets Concentrate Production Target at 2m Tons p.a.," Financial Tribune, July 9, 2015
  27. "Tabas coal miners protest against the start of work," Iran Freedom, April 2020
  28. "Facebook Post," Nahid Javid, March 20, 2020
  29. "معدن روباز زغال نیروگاه حرارتی طبس افتتاح شد," IRNA, July 2021
  30. "More than 400 sacked workers of Iran-Sadra Shipyard ended the 8th day of their protest," National Council of Resistance of Iran, April 7, 2008
  31. "Negin coal miners strike in Tabas," Radio Zamaneh, May 12, 2015
  32. "Iran: nationwide workers' protest and strike has created a crises in the country," People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran, May 27, 2015
  33. "Facebook Post," Maryam Mohseni, April 15, 2016
  34. "Protested workers fired from the Tabas coal mine," Steelpedia, November 27, 2017
  35. "Facebook Post," Maryam Mohseni, March 4, 2017

Related articles

External resources