Thar Block-I power station

From Global Energy Monitor
This article is part of the CoalSwarm coverage of Pakistan and coal.
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Thar Block-I power station, also known as the Thar SSRL power station, is a proposed 1,320-megawatt (MW) coal plant in Sindh province, Pakistan.


The undated satellite photo below shows the power station in Islamkot, Tharparkar district.

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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 annual, supporting a 1,400 MW (4 x 350 MW) coal plant, the first two units of which will 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 will extract coal and supply it to China Power International (CPI). Eventually, the mine is expected to reach 20 million tons per year, which will be used for additional power plants as well as for export. The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) will 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 need to apply for a generation license. The power station is planned to start generation in 2017-18. Shanghai Electric will 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 has been granted and financial closure is being sought. It is 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 states the plant will 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 will 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]


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]


On March 6, 2020, financial closure was reached for the first (660MW) and second (660MW) phases of the Thar SSRL mine-mouth coal-fired power plant. The financing has a 75:25 debt to equity ratio. Loans of US$239 million are being provided by both China Ex-Im Bank and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), with a further US$239 million coming from undisclosed sources (thought to be Chinese). SEPCO is providing US$239 million in equity. ICBC has also reportedly agreed to provide a US$1 billion loan for the adjoining mining operations which will supply the coal plant; mining work is reported to have begun in October 2019.[12]


Project Details

  • Sponsor: Shanghai Electric Group Company
  • Parent company:
  • Location: Islamkot, Tharparkar district, Sindh province, Pakistan
  • Coordinates: 24.7108029, 70.3024933 (exact)
  • Status: Construction
  • Capacity: 1320 MW (2 x 660 MW)
  • Type: Subcritical
  • Projected in service: 2022-2023
  • Coal Type:
  • Coal Source: Thar Block-I
  • Source of financing: US$1,434 million in debt from ICBC, China Exim Bank, China Development Bank, and Habib Bank; US$478 million in equity from Shanghai Electric[13]


In March 2016, a delegation from the National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR), along with other human rights activists, released a report on the situation of children’s deaths, in the Tharparkar district in Pakistan. Local villagers near the Thar SSRL Power plant also started protesting against the acquisition of the lands for the development of these plants, citing threats to local environment and ecology.[14]

From September to January 2017, villagers near the Tharparkar SSRL power plant have protested the project in fear of pollution of their water and threats to their ancestral lands.[15] On December 20th, 2017, the District Council of Tharparkar passed a resolution stating how the local people of Tharparkar were not given many jobs in relation to the construction of the Thar SSRL power plant. Instead, the majority of recruited employees belonged outside of the Tharparkar District. The Council expressed how the ENGRO Coal Mining Company in charge of the power plant is “continuously ignoring the local people.”[16] On July 13, 2017, the Sindh Environmental Protection Agency held a consultation with locals 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 have not received either to a great extent. Since the project is funded by 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.[17]

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.[18]

Articles and resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Munawar Hasan, "Work on $13 billion Thar coal project to begin in May," The International News, 21 March 2015
  2. "Shanghai Electric inks deal on coal-power integrated project in Pakistan," Xinhua Finance 2015-04-23
  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 Nov 2016
  6. Shanghai Electric secures generation licence, The News, 7 Jan. 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, Dec 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. 2020-01-02. Retrieved 2020-06-10.
  12. FC on Pakistan's largest Thar coal-fired, IJGlobal, 6 Mar 2020.
  13. "Preview of Thar Block-I Coal-Fired Power Plant (1.32GW) IPP | Transaction | IJGlobal". Retrieved 2020-11-19.
  14. “Thar Coal Project and Local Commuity”, "National Commission for Human Rights", December 2019.
  15. “Pakistan races to tap virgin coal fields to meet energy crunch”, “Thomas Reuters Foundation News”, February 27, 2017.
  16. “Tharparkar demands more locals to be employed by ENGRO Coal”, "Daily Times Pakistan", January 19, 2018.
  17. “For Pakistan, China’s huge energy investments may have serious political costs”, "Wion News", July 24, 2017.
  18. “Thari people come to Karachi to protest government’s ‘apathy’”, "International The News", December 23, 2019.

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