Thar Block I power station

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Thar Block I power station is an operating power station of at least 1320-megawatts (MW) in Islamkot, Tharparkar, Sindh, Pakistan. It is also known as Thar SSRL power station.


Table 1: Project-level location details

Plant name Location Coordinates (WGS 84)
Thar Block I power station Islamkot, Tharparkar, Sindh, Pakistan 24.710803, 70.302493 (exact)

The map below shows the exact location of the power station.

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Unit-level coordinates (WGS 84):

  • Unit 1, Unit 2: 24.710803, 70.302493

Project Details

Table 2: Unit-level details

Unit name Status Fuel(s) Capacity (MW) Technology Start year Retired year
Unit 1 operating coal - unknown 660 subcritical 2023
Unit 2 operating coal - unknown 660 subcritical 2023

Table 3: Unit-level ownership and operator details

Unit name Owner
Unit 1 Thar Coal Block-I Power Generation Co Ltd [100.0%]
Unit 2 Thar Coal Block-I Power Generation Co Ltd [100.0%]

Project-level coal details

  • Coal source(s): Thar Block I


In March 2015, it was reported that mining of the Thar coalfield would begin in May. Sino Sindh Resources Limited (SSRL) is the holder of mining lease rights in Thar Block I, spread over 150 square kilometers. In the first phase, 6.5 million tons of coal would be produced per year, supporting a 1,400 MW (4 x 350 MW) coal plant, the first two units of which would begin generating power in 2018.[1][2]

As part of the deal, SSRL and Shanghai Electric Corporation entered into a coal supply agreement in which SSRL would extract coal and supply it to China Power International (CPI). Eventually, the mine was expected to reach 20 million tons per year, which would be used for additional power plants as well as for export. The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) would provide US$1 billion for the mining operations. Financing for the power plant was not discussed.[1]

In June 2015, the Private Power and Infrastructure Board approved the power station, but the sponsors still needed to apply for a generation license. The power station was planned to start generation in 2017-18. Shanghai Electric was set to be project partner of SSRL. Thar SSRL power station was among the projects included in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.[3]

In May 2016, Shanghai Electric applied to the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) for a generation license for a 2 x 660 MW mine-mount coal plant in Thar Block I.[4] According to the Pakistan Private Power and Infrastructure Board in November 2016, the license was granted and financial closure was being sought. It was planned for 2020.[5]

In January 2017, Shanghai Electric was given a generation license for the project.[6]

A December 17, 2018 updated list of "Upcoming IPPs" by the Ministry of Water & Power stated the plant would be commissioned in 2022-2023, with financial close "in progress".[7]

In October 2019, Shanghai Electric began mining work on the Thar Coal Block I mine and plant. An estimated 600 families were expected to be displaced due to the coal mining and installation of the power plant.[8] In December 2019, an implementation agreement was signed between Shanghai Electric Group Company and the government of Pakistan for the 1,320 MW coal plant.[9]

In March 2020, the coal plant and mine project reached financial close.[10][11]

A December 4, 2020 updated list of "Upcoming IPPs" by the Ministry of Water & Power stated the plant would have a unit commissioned by March 2022 and one unit by May 2022.[12]

In February 2021, almost 40% of work related to coal mining was allegedly completed and construction work was also in progress on the power station. Block I mining work was expected to be completed by the end of 2021, and the first unit of the Block I power station would start working in 2022. The entire project was expected to be completed by 2023.[13]

In June 2021, more than 5,000 employees associated with the Thar Block I project were being vaccinated according to a top official of Shanghai Electric.[14]

Pakistan’s Indicative Generation Capacity Expansion Plan 2021-30 approved by the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority in September 2021 listed the project for commissioning in May 2022.[15]

As of January 2022, the work was reportedly 66% complete.[16]

In June 2022, construction reportedly began on the necessary water infrastructure for Thar Block I. The Sindh Irrigation Minister stated: "Today, the PPP government is meeting the demand [for water rights] by constructing a canal from Makhi regulator to Baisar so that local people can use the water for drinking and agricultural purposes... simultaneously, water through a pipeline would be supplied to Thar Block-I for power generation".[17]

Both units achieved completion in December 2022.[18][19] The power station began commercial operation in February 2023.[20]

As of April 2024, it appeared that "obstacles" were impacting the power station's ability to operate as planned.[21]


SSRL is owned 55% by Global Mining China (GMC) and 40% by Asiapak Investments, with the remaining 5% owned by a Dubai-based company. SSRL will mine the coal for the power station,[1] while the power station will be set up by Shanghai Electric Group Company of China.[3]


March 2020: It was reported that financial close took place in March 2020 to extend US$1,434 million in debt from ICBC, China Exim Bank, China Development Bank, and Habib Bank, US$478 million in equity to come from Shanghai Electric to finance the plant.[22] The financing has a 75:25 debt to equity ratio. ICBC also reportedly agreed to provide a US$1 billion loan for the adjoining mining operations set to supply the coal plant; mining work was reported to have begun in October 2019.[23]

December 2023: Another financial close was also reported in December 2023.[24] The loan amount was higher than in 2020 at US$2 billion with 8 banks participating including China Development Bank, China Exim Bank, Agricultural Bank of China, Bank of Communications, China Minsheng Bank, China Postal Savings Bank, Habib Bank and ICBC, each extending $250 million, according to IG Global.[25] Sinosure acted as the insurer of the project.[26][27]

It appeared that the financial close announced in 2020 did not become effective. Delays in financial closure were said to be due to Sinosure’s reluctance, which required Chinese government approval.[24] PPIB stated that the project's construction work in a crunch situation of COVID-19 was funded by leveraging on equity and bridge financing.[27]


The Thar Block I power station, like other Thar coal projects, has been met with opposition.[28] In December 2019, a delegation from the National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR), along with other human rights activists, released a report on the situation in the Tharparkar district in Pakistan.[29]

For example, in July 2017, the Sindh Environmental Protection Agency held a consultation with local people of Tharparkar to discuss concerns over coal expansion in the district. Locals expressed resistance to the power plants, citing how they were promised jobs and land, but had not received either to a great extent. Since many projects in the region are part of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), there are concerns that the development project is more to the benefit of the Chinese population, rather than the Pakistan population.[30]

In addition, on December 22, 2019, hundreds of people from the Thar region marched from the Mazar-e-Quaid to the Karachi Press Club locations in Pakistan. The march was led by community leaders Lala Bheel, Lajpat Bheel, Hemraj Bheel, and Dilpat Singh from the Bheel Intellectual Forum. The main concerns of the protestors were over the government’s failure to address the drought issues in Tharparkar, as a result of the Thar Coal projects. They urged the government to address the matter and pay due compensation.[31]


Articles and Resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Work on $13 billion Thar coal project to begin in May," The International News, March 21, 2015
  2. "Shanghai Electric inks deal on coal-power integrated project in Pakistan," Xinhua Finance, April 23, 2015
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Chinese company to set up 1,400MW coal power project," Daily Times, June 17, 2015
  4. "Shanghai Group seeks permit to make electricity from Thar coal," The International News, May 18, 2016
  5. "Upcoming IPPs," Pakistan Private Power and Infrastructure Board, accessed November 2016
  6. "Shanghai Electric secures generation licence," The International News, January 7, 2017
  7. "Upcoming IPPs," Private Power & Infrastructure Board, Ministry of Power, updated December 17, 2018
  8. "Mining work begins in Thar Coal Block-I," The Express Tribune, October 9, 2019
  9. "Pakistan signs IA with Chinese company for 1320MW coal-based project," The Nation, December 17, 2019
  10. "Shanghai Electric achieves financial close for coal mine," World Coal, March 17, 2020
  11. "Financial close achieved for 1,980MW Sindh power plants," DAWN, January 2, 2020
  12. "Upcoming IPPs," Private Power & Infrastructure Board, Ministry of Power, updated December 4, 2020
  13. "CPEC’s Thar Coal Block-1 project progressing quickly, says top official," The International News, February 9, 2021
  14. "Shanghai Electric begins major vaccination drive in Thar Block-1," Daily Times, June 15, 2021
  15. “Indicative Generation Capacity Expansion Plan 2021-30,” National Transmission and Despatch Company, September 2021
  16. "1320 SSRL Thar Coal Block-I 7.8 Mtpa & Power Plant (2×660MW) (Shanghai Electric)," CPEC, accessed January 2022
  17. "Thar Coal Block-I foundation stone laid," The Express Tribune, June 5, 2022
  18. "Another 660MW Unit of Thar Power Plant Connected With National Grid". December 12, 2022. {{cite web}}: External link in |website= (help)CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  19. "Thar coal project: 1,320 MW added to national grid, says CM Murad". December 20, 2022. {{cite web}}: External link in |website= (help)CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  20. "Coal power plant under CPEC put into operation in Pakistan," XINHUANET, February 7, 2023
  21. "1,320 MW power to be added to national grid from Thar Coal project: minister," Dunya News, April 28, 2024
  22. "Preview of Thar Block-I Coal-Fired Power Plant (1.32GW) IPP," IJGlobal, accessed November 19, 2020
  23. "FC on Pakistan's largest Thar coal-fired," IJGlobal, March 6, 2020
  24. 24.0 24.1 "1320MW Thar coal-fired power project achieves financial close," CPEC, December 14, 2023
  25. "Thar Block-I Coal-Fired Power Plant (1.32GW) IPP". / February 2024.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  26. "Pakistan achieves FC for coal-fired plant". December 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  27. 27.0 27.1 "PPIB ANNOUNCES FINANCIAL CLOSE OF MEGA THAR COAL POWER PROJECT". December 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  28. "Locals urge Pakistani government to drop CPEC coal mining plans," The Third Pole, July 15, 2020
  29. “Thar Coal Project and Local Commuity”, National Commission for Human Rights, December 2019
  30. “For Pakistan, China’s huge energy investments may have serious political costs,” Wion News, July 24, 2017
  31. “Thari people come to Karachi to protest government’s ‘apathy’,” The International News, December 23, 2019

Additional data

To access additional data, including an interactive map of coal-fired power stations, a downloadable dataset, and summary data, please visit the Global Coal Plant Tracker on the Global Energy Monitor website.