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Thar Mine is an open-pit coal mine, operated by Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company, a joint venture between the Government of Sindh and the Engro Energy Corporation, producing 3.8 million tonnes per annum, in the Tharparkar District, Sindh province, Pakistan.
A second operation, operated by Sino Sindh Resources Limited, and owned by Chinese-based Shanghai Electric Group Company, currently plans to expand Block 1 of the mine by an additional 7.8 million tons.
The below satellite image shows the location of the Thar mine in Tharparkar District, Sindh, Pakistan.
The Thar mine sits within Pakistan's Thar coalfield within the Thar Desert. Thar Coal reserves are estimated by the Geological Survey of Pakistan to be approximately 175 billion tonnes—making it one of the largest lignite coal reserves in the world.
The estimated 175 billion tonnes of watery, low energy coal was first discovered in 1992, but because of its poor quality, most companies found it too costly to mine. In 2012, Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) took up the challenge as a means of tackling energy deficiency across Pakistan. Pakistan’s annual demand for coal exceeds supply (the country's energy shortfall exceeds 6,000 MW); 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.
The SECMC will also build a 660-megawatt coal-fired power plant nearby which the company wants to increase to 3,300 MW by 2022.
In January 2014, Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and former President Mr. Asif Ali Zardari inaugurated the work on The Sindh Engro Coal Mining (SECMC) project, a joint venture between government of Sindh and Engro Corporation. This marked the beginning of coal extraction from Thar Coal Block II.
In April 2021, Khalid Mansoor, special assistant to former prime minister Imran Khan for the Pakistan-China Economic Corridor (CPEC), said Thar coal will be used in Sindh province for gas and oil production.
A 5-Phase mining project
The total planned mining capacity of the Thar coal mining project will be 20.6 MT/year, with a capacity to scale it to 30.4 MT/year. The mining project is planned to be executed in five phases with phase I completed in July 2019 and Phase II commenced thereon. In the first phase, the mine was developed for a capacity of 3.8 MT/year, whereas two 330 MW sub critical plants are under construction; out of which 1st unit will be commissioned in December 2018 and the 2nd unit by March-April 2019 utilizing the complete capacity of 3.8 MT/year. In the second phase, the mine will be further expanded to 7.6 MT/year and additional 2 x 330 MW of power will be added. In the third phase, the mine will be expanded to a capacity of 15.2 MT/year with an additional power generation capacity of 1,320 MW. Similarly, in the fourth phase, the mine will be expanded to a capacity of 22.8 MT/year with additional 1,320 MW added to the system, while in the fifth and final phase, the mine will be expanded to its full potential of 30.4 MT/year with an additional 1,320 MW added into the system, bringing the combined total to over 5,000 MW of power generation through Thar coal from Block II.
- Sponsor: Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company
- Parent Company: The Government of Sindh, Engro Energy Corp.
- Location: Tharparkar District, Sindh, Pakistan
- GPS Coordinates: 24.7755787, 70.3982412 (exact)
- Status: Operating
- Production Capacity: 3.8 million tonnes per year (phase I)
- Total Resource: 2 billion tonnes
- Mineable Reserves: 1.57 billion tonnes
- Coal Type: Lignite
- Mine Size:
- Mine Type: Surface
- Start Year: 2018
- Source of Financing: China
Articles and resources
- "Can Thar coal address Pakistan's power crisis?" Aljazeera News, July 13, 2019.
- "Nawaz-Zardari jointly inaugurate Sindh Engro Thar Coal project" Engro, Jan. 31, 2014.
- Thar Block-1 Integrated Coal Mine and Power Project
- Stories: Thar coal mining project – addressing Pakistan’s rising energy needs Engro, accessed November 2019.
- "Pakistan races to tap virgin coal fields to meet energy crunch" Reuters, Feb. 27, 2017.
- Businesses: Sindh Engro coal mining company Engro, accessed November 2019.
- پاکستان میں کوئلے سے تیل و گیس پیدا کرنے کی ضرورت کیوں پیش آئی؟, BBC News, April 19,2022
- China Pakistan Economic Corridor, CPEC Projects, accessed July 8, 2020