Chasing a pipe dream: Three reasons why Thar coal will not save Pakistan

Published: January 23, 2012

To borrow and contort a famous turn of phrase from Matt Taibi’s now legendary piece of investigative journalism about Goldman Sachs, “the first thing you need to know about [global energy conglomerates] is that [they are] everywhere. The world’s most powerful [industry] is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of [earth], relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like [fossil fuels].”

That is the image you need to wrap your minds around if you want to understand why Thar coal is not the lamp that will summon the jinn, to fix all of Pakistan’s energy and economic problems if only rubbed the right way by that right clean, patriotic leadership of lore. You need to envision this monster squid sticking its tentacles down every hole that smells even remotely of juice and then you need to ask yourself, doesn’t the brandished juiciness of Thar’s coal reserves sound succulent enough for that behemoth to have stuck its arms deep into it by now. After all, it’s already here, not even miles away from Thar in gas fields from Bhit to Qadirpur, quietly sucking up fossil fuels from innumerous holes. If BP, Eni, MOL and others can find a way to drill, build and operate in Sindh, why haven’t Peabody Energy got a whiff of all that solid black gold buried underground yet and come looking for it. The answer to that question, unfortunately for Pakistan, is that, unlike the gas and the oil, and the copper to the west in Balochistan, the coal simply isn’t worth it. It isn’t worth the trouble, worth the bureaucratic hassles, worth braving the security risks, worth going half-way around the world for. It isn’t worth it in terms of bare dollar amounts, in terms of ecological economics or in terms of energy return on energy input. Now, don’t make a mistake here. There’s significant amount of energy to be had from Thar’s coal reserves, but in the national context. Not in the global context. If someone tells you Thar’s coal reserves are the largest, or the second largest, or even in the top ten in the world, ask them for their sources. They are wrong.

Why the numbers don’t add up

According to the World Energy Council, Pakistan has a little more than 2,000 million tons of proven recoverable coal reserves. That number is supported by British Petroleum’s similar estimates  and contrasts with the Sindh Government’s total predicted estimates of about 2,357  million tons (this number does not include ‘indicated’ and ‘inferred’ reserves). This compared with Germany’s lignite reserves of about 40,600 million tons and India’s reserves of about 4,500 million tons seems small. Pakistan’s coal reserves are in effect only the 134th largest coal reserves in the world. But if you want to know what a resource is really worth, you need to rely on the word of someone who’s willing to pay for it. The last company that was willing to invest in Thar’s coal reserves, the Shenhua Group China, estimated that they could produce about 3.5 million tons of coal per year from the mines, which they translated into 600 MW of power generation. Pakistan’s energy shortage is now in the thousands of megawatt per day.

It is important to measure the potential of Thar coal in terms of megawatts of power per day because the kind of coal that Thar has, is of little use besides conversion to electricity onsite. Lignite, which is the least energy intensive form of coal, according to some definitions, is not coal at all. In fact, it is considered a dirty energy source lying somewhere on the spectrum between coal and peat with carbon content between 25% to 35%. The fixed carbon content of Thar coal is less than 22%. The low carbon content translates into low energy generation capacity, which means that if energy is invested into transporting the lignite from source to point of consumption, the net energy output of the mining, extraction, transportation and conversion process becomes less than zero; you end up investing more energy making energy out of coal than you get out of it in terms of megawatts. In order to get any energy out of lignite, it has to be converted into electricity almost entirely onsite; where it is being mined. Which brings us to the first reason why Thar coal will not save Pakistan.

There isn’t enough water

The methodology of getting lignite out of ground is called strip mining. You basically dig a big hole in the ground and the more coal you get out, the bigger the hole gets. Strip mining requires extensive amounts of water depending on the methodology used with estimates varying from 10 to 150 gallons of water for one ton of coal mined. Assuming minimum water requirement, mining 3.5 million tons of coal per year would require 35 million gallons of water per year or roughly about 100,000 gallons of water per day. Power production has further extensive water requirements. Sindh government is assuring investors an eventual water supply of about 300,000 gallons of water per day. Where is this water going to come from? Pakistan is a “water stressed” country on the verge of “water scarcity”, with the people of Thar being the most deprived in a nation of water deprived people. Yes, we are an energy starved nation, but more so than that we are a thirsty nation, who’ve let one of the richest water resource regimes in the world go to waste through lack of development and irresponsible usage. Make no mistake about it, the energy gained through Thar coal will come at a cost of water loss to the people who can least afford it. What complicates the matter even more is the fact that mining for coal in an area where the primary source of drinking water is subsurface aquifer, can end up contaminating the water supply of a very vulnerable population. Especially when, as in Thar, there are connected aquifers, above, within and below the coal zone.

Magic bullets don’t work

The impracticality of the water situation has lead some in Pakistan’s scientific elite to consider unproven technologies. Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) is one such technology.

Unfortunately though, the risk of aquifer contamination is highest in UCG of all the techniques of extracting energy from underground coal. UCG is an experimental methodology where coal is not mined but sparked underground and the gas generated through this combustion is collected through wells. While this methodology does not have the high surface footprint and risks of strip mining, it offers extensive water contamination opportunities as the gas generated through combustion underground is hard to control. It can never be guaranteed to not mix with the subsurface water . But that’s the least of the problems with UCG. The experimental nature of UCG means that there are very few places in the world where this technology has been successfully implemented. No commercial UCG production wells exist and there are very few experts; individuals or companies who are competent enough to execute UCG projects flawlessly. UCG projects are economically feasible only if the coal reserves cannot be reached through traditional means and that is not the case here. Also, UCG is only recommended in coal beds which are isolated from aquifers. That is not the case in Thar either. So let’s recap; UCG is an experimental methodology that people at the helm of the UCG project in Thar have no expertise or experience in, there is no need to implement UCG in Thar and the technology if implemented will most certainly contaminate the only water source of a very vulnerable population.

The reason some of the claims of the UCG project leadership about potential of the project sound too good to be true, is because they are. The key to remember here is this; magic bullets don’t work. And miracle cures, more often than not, turn out to be nothing more than snake oil.

Thar coal is not a sustainable energy source

There is a litany of environmental problems associated with coal mining and electricity generation, with coal being the “dirtiest” of all fossil fuel sources, but environmental problems are not the real reason why Thar coal will not save Pakistan.

Thar coal cannot solve our energy problems, balance our budget, put food on every deprived Sindhi household’s table or lift Pakistan out of poverty, because coal is a fossil fuel and a finite resource. To understand the significance of this statement, think about this. When Sui gas was discovered in 1952 it was estimated that this energy source will last us for at least a hundred years. We were all set for three generations. For a hundred years we knew our stoves will stay warm, literally. Then, growth happened. Lots of it. Suddenly, unbelievable as it may have seemed once, we’d run out of gas. Gas was gone.

In terms of net energy, Thar’s reserves are a fraction of the embarrassment of riches that was found in Sui six decades ago. At current growth rates, they will last us no longer than twenty five years. What then?

This is not to say that we shouldn’t exploit Thar’s energy potential. By all means, we need to tap that resource as soon as possible — giving due consideration to environmental concerns of course — and exploit as much of it as we can without hindering on the water rights of the locals. But we must not forget that despite being a potential medium term respite, Thar coal is no solution to Pakistan’s long term energy problems. Pakistan has extensive wind and hydel renewable potential. Small dams along the stretch of Indus and the sprouting of wind farms along our beautiful jagged coast are the only truly sustainable options that can secure Pakistan’s energy future.

The writer is an energy, environment and water resources consultant based in Hungary.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 23rd,  2012.

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Reader Comments (42)

  • Yasar
    Jan 23, 2012 - 4:42AM

    I doubt BP has upto date figures on Pak reserves. They have no incentive to find out.

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  • Chaman
    Jan 23, 2012 - 5:22AM

    Looks like fake propaganda from the oil lobby and enemies of Pakistan.

    If Underground coal gasification is experimental, how is Yerostigaz, a subsidiary of Linc Energy, producing about 1 million cubic metres (35 million cubic feet) of syngas per day in Angren, Uzbekistan.

    http://www.lincenergy.com/acquisitions_yerostigaz.php

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  • Parvez Amin
    Jan 23, 2012 - 5:39AM

    When you are an energy, environment and water resources consultant, why are you based in Hungary? You should be in Pakistan. If you have so far been disappointed by the response to your expertise, do not feel that way any more. Working on merit, which means a lot more than one article in a newspaper I want you to get in touch with me so that we can explore how our joining forces will help Pakistan. My email is pa@madadgarpakistan.pk. Madadgar is a new national political party to guarantee prosperity to Pakistan through WORK, ORDER and MERIT.

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  • Raza Bashir
    Jan 23, 2012 - 5:40AM

    The writer needs to do some fresh research or perhaps take a flight back from hungary to Pakistan to actually find out what is happening. First of all he needs to read up on closed cycle water cooling power plants and see the feasibility of the thar coal power project keeping that in view. With closed cycle cooling power plants, there is potential for generation of atleast 3800 to 4600 MW electricity in 4-5 years.

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  • Arjun
    Jan 23, 2012 - 6:00AM

    You are wrong about Matt Taibi’s quote. He was describing Goldman Sachs in the vampire squid quote.

    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-great-american-bubble-machine-20100405

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  • Cautious
    Jan 23, 2012 - 6:32AM

    Most of what is said in this article is obvious to anyone familiar with coal mining — a quick review of Wikipedia using the terms lignite coal and then Thar Coal will validate much of what the author has stated. Poor quality coal isn’t worth transporting and creating energy on site has it’s own limitations.
    .
    One of the complications the author doesn’t address is that some/much of the Thar coal has 50-90 meters of water sitting above the seam — that makes std open pit mining difficult if not impossible – which is why Coal Gasification is often discussed when Thar is mentioned – but Coal Gasification is largely experimental and to my knowledge there is not one operating facility which currently uses that technology.
    .
    If Pakistan wants to find a way out of it’s energy crisis its’ time for a reality check – bogus plans promoted by politicians/bureaucrats as way to relieve political pressure are not viable solutions.

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  • Bilal
    Jan 23, 2012 - 7:07AM

    I’m glad someone talked about the other side of the story.

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  • khan
    Jan 23, 2012 - 7:34AM

    spot on analysis. All over the world, US, Chinese and Indian companies with billion of dollars of asset are buying reserves like crazy. If this coal was economically viable to dig out and use, they would have invested here decades back as it was discovered. It simply does not make sense when you create a product(electricity) that is so costly to make that you dont have any buyers for that. We have lost the race for coal based system long back. It seems we are also losing big time on renewable which is the system for future. Simply hopeless

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  • Jan 23, 2012 - 9:09AM

    Even if the Thar coal reserve is as low as 2000 million tons as the author claims, it’s still a huge reserve, about half 4.500 million tone in India where 55% of 185,000 MW of electricity comes from coal-fired power plants. It’s time for Pakistan to start to convert thermal plants to coal to reduce dependence on expensive imported oil and valuable domestic gas reserves of over 50 trillion cubic feet that can be put to better use.

    http://www.riazhaq.com/2010/04/abundant-cheap-coal-electricity-for.html

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  • Amadeus
    Jan 23, 2012 - 9:39AM

    Finally someone’s offering a reality check. Good stuff. The only thing that Pakistan has is K2, and we can all take it due north (up there).

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  • Uzair
    Jan 23, 2012 - 10:04AM

    This is just a propaganda from the oil lobby. They just cant see Pakistan independent and self sufficient in energy. They dont lend us money for building dams, as that would mean more cheaper electricity. They are luring this government officials to creat an artificial gas shortage so that people are more dependant on oil imported. This is outrageous. We have found gas in Safed Koh but the Govt is not giving them a fair price just because that would help solve our gas problems….I wonder is this a Pakistani news portal or some anti Pakistani news portal. Recommend

  • Waqas
    Jan 23, 2012 - 10:11AM

    The way facts have been framed in this article in order to make glass look half empty, is commendable. But the facts are contrary to what has been mentioned in the article. Pakistan certainly sits over the world’s 5th largest coal reserves which certainly is of poor quality, but at such dire times when our indutries are running dry og fuel, we are left with no other options but to exploit what we have at our disposal. And are those chinese firms and joint american consortium group who are planning to invest $10 billion on thar coal.Recommend

  • sadaf saleem
    Jan 23, 2012 - 11:43AM

    if we will publicize the down sides of coal resources in our country; we will never be able to reap its benefits. we must better find out alternative ways to utilize them.

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  • TJ
    Jan 23, 2012 - 12:16PM

    You cant just dismiss the UCG technology. Many projects are under development all over the globe, most of which are being conducted by corporations. The best thing about UCG is that it reduces the expulsion of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, plus carbon dioxide can be sequentially stored, hence, not leading to many environmental problems including global warming. Yes, water contamination is a problem but if remote locations are chosen and a certain depth is reached, then research papers have shown that affect on ground water supplies are minimal.

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  • Syed
    Jan 23, 2012 - 12:38PM

    @Riaz Haq

    Indian power companies have also acquired dozens of large coal fields abroad. Even Chinese companies have done the same despite China having the largest proven coal reserves in the world. It’s all about quality and ease of availability.

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  • Ahad
    Jan 23, 2012 - 12:44PM

    Lobbyist at work !

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  • Hindi hain hum
    Jan 23, 2012 - 1:37PM

    The author’s comparison of reserves leaves out the vital fact that in addition to 4500 million tonnes of lignite, India also has 56,000 million tonnes of anthracite/bituminous coal which has much higher carbon content and is better suited for transport and power prodution. Also, India’s lignite deposits are fortunately on the surface enabling use of opencast mining — see nlcindia.com — Neyveli Lignite produces almost 2500 MW onsite near its mines.

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  • AG
    Jan 23, 2012 - 2:20PM

    Where can we validate the authors claims?

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  • Rizavi
    Jan 23, 2012 - 3:02PM

    Great write up. Would be awesome if students like us can contact the author via email or weblog.

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  • Umar
    Jan 23, 2012 - 3:41PM

    Let’s not be adamant to the truth! Thar coal is a fantasy that has been fed to the ppl.

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  • Ahmad
    Jan 23, 2012 - 4:49PM

    @Chaman:

    You do realise that 35 million cubic feet is equal to just 1/3rd the amount of gas of what KESC alone consumes in a single day?

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  • AshvinnAshvinn
    Jan 23, 2012 - 5:14PM

    Wonderful this what I call journalism not some oped what Pakistan wants in afghanistan. Also hydro power has lot of potential , windmills are expensive, solar has yet produce cost effective product. Build dams Pakistan that will help u with power generation, flood control, water storage for dry seasons.

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  • Tariq
    Jan 23, 2012 - 5:15PM

    Great analysis. Thar coal has tremendous amount of energy stored in it, but unless we find a way to develop it economically, with available technology and in an environmentally friendly manner, it will not benefit Pakistan. In any case, it will not be a significant contributor to energy needs of Pakistan over next 5-10 years. So, while continuing research on how to develop Thar coal, we should not be distracted by the tall claims made by some, and should not ignore other options for meeting our energy demand at least for the short term. These include development of existing but dormant natural gas resources including shale gas, import of natural gas via pipeline or LNG. Let’s learn to walk before we can run!
    Sorry, we cannot compare our resources in Thar coal to Saudi Arabia’s oil reserves at this time.

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  • Amit
    Jan 23, 2012 - 5:25PM

    The author of this article is absolutely right. Those who are selling false dreams about Pak coal reserves are in fact cheats of worse kind, they are wasting tax payers money for their own selfish motives. The writer has rightly said that Pakistan is nowhere in the world’s coal map. In terms of proven and recoverable world coal reserves, Pakistan ranks lowly 134th place. World’s over 65% of coal reserves are found in only five countries i.e the US (22.6%), Russia (14.4%), China (12.6%), Australia (8.9%) India (7.0%). In contrast Pakistan has only world’s 0.3% of coal.
    In terms of production China, the US and India are considered world’s largest producers of coal. In spite of these facts, due to the rapid expansion of energy demand, both China and India are known as the world’s largest importers of coal.
    What I want to say is being optimistic is good thing, but living in delusion is dangerous.
    You can check the facts with the following link.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coal#Worldcoalreserves

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  • faraz
    Jan 23, 2012 - 5:28PM

    For the hardcore nationalists who think its a Zionist conspiracy, read Dr. AQ Khan’s articles. He has similar views about Thar coal

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  • Suresh
    Jan 23, 2012 - 5:45PM

    Ash content in the coal is one significant indicator of its usefulness. More the ash less the energy. Besides, it creates lot of problem in its handling. It causes pollution and disposal problem. Energy producer also looses carbon credit because of this. Producing gas should be one good alternative. The author has not discussed this in detail.

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  • W
    Jan 23, 2012 - 5:46PM

    I would agree with the comments but more importantly with the Author. I simply look at it from an international investors point of view (because certainly Pakistan lack the proper funds). An investor would invest only if he is guaranteed the quality of the coal and the desired output from the coal. The target output would allow the project to generate decent returns. The investor would invest in a high grade facility for mining and processing of the coal. But if the raw material itself is not of good quality, it does not make sense to dive into the project.

    My comment agrees with the Author’s views and Mr.Khans views.

    @Riaz Haq’s Comment – the author clearly says this is not feasible in the long run. Why would you invest in an idea that will only survive for (assuming) 5-8 years, as mentioned the current energy consumption is way more (in thousands) rather than 600MW (keep in view the demand is expected to increase due to population growth which will bring the investment period even lower.)

    @Uzair’s Comment – You need to think again. When have we ever invested the money “they” do lend us for the right purpose? If we always have seen the money received being spent into the right purpose then why do we see some politicians crying about corruptions? According to your point, “they” are not willing to see “you” happy and satisfied. Well better blow urself up than! Because “They” will never be happy to see you happy!

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  • Erfan
    Jan 23, 2012 - 8:20PM

    I think it’s important for people to understand the difference between a “reserve” and “resource”. Anything that can’t be extracted economically cannot be termed as reserve (my understanding). Pakistan has lot of coal resource and I am not sure if it can be extracted economically.

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  • Abu
    Jan 23, 2012 - 8:25PM

    Phew!!! another myth busted….carbo carbo worth coal in Thar all vanished :(…only a country can come up if they stop believing in getting every thing out of thin air, instead work hard, educate the mass, don’t ridicule others and accept and appreciate others achievement…best example is when we talk of Indian IT industry many of us ridicule them – saying they are code coolies or call center agents but the reality is their IT industry is more then 100 billion worth and on the other hand our IT industry is 4 billion but yet we say they are code collies and all nasty things…I work in an IT company in Dubai and I could see almost all the top management to low level IT engineers all are from India working for the multinational company where I work, and I am very few exceptions other then Indian working in IT filed in Dubai…We got great potential if we educate our mass, and also we too inherited the same British legacy which is helping India to grow faster, only thing is we need to accept our short comings and work on that to eradicate and once that part is addressed, then soon we also will do great in all aspects of development…

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  • SMJ
    Jan 23, 2012 - 8:35PM

    In few million years, this coal will turn into diamonds. yay!

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  • Aviator
    Jan 23, 2012 - 11:32PM

    By all means exploit Thar Coal, but really for the long term solar and wind power is where serious investment in pakistan should be happening. Just look at the experience of the UK, vast oil and gas reserves were discovered in the North Sea in the 70′s and 80′s, now these are fast running out, and has become a net importer of gas. Now the government has begun investing in renewable energy. Sui Gas and Thar Coal wont last for very long. For the long term, pakistan should seriously be thinking about renewables!

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  • Salman Dutta
    Jan 24, 2012 - 12:22AM

    My compliments to the author for a stimulating article on Thar coal. It was equally refreshing to read so many educated responses debating various points the author makes. It is obvious that Thar is significant in the context of Pakistan’s energy needs even though it may not be as vast as the numbers floating around locally – no hydrocarbon energy source is infinite any where in the world. In my view, it is important that we follow a well founded approach to developing this resource instead of haphazard stops and starts witnessed since its inadvertent discovery by SAZDA, some 25 years ago. All the cited challenges facing Thar have been surmounted else where in the world; be it ash, moisture, low energy content, overburden etc. We must begin at the beginning by evaluating the Thar coal fields to international standards such as JORC. This will eliminate the endless discussion about it true size. It will also enable major world miners to form an informed opinion about its potential. Next, we must make concessions based on geological merit and a short list of recovery technologies with an eye on end user cost. This will encourage cost effective exploitation at the right scale and ensure beneficial use for all stake holders. As far a UCG at Thar is concerned, given that we are dealing with lignite and very high moisture and a nascent technology, I dearly hope for the tax payers and Thar’s inhabitants sake that the author’s pessimism is misplaced – it does look like a pipe dream if there ever was one.

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  • Salman Dutta
    Jan 24, 2012 - 12:28AM

    @SMJ: this is lignite my friend :) Your statement could be true for anthracite.

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  • TAFWEEZ CHAUHAN
    Jan 24, 2012 - 1:48AM

    You cannot talk in terms of generalities and determine project specific viability. The issues you present making a case against Thar coal are too general and cannot be used to determine specific power generation development decisions. It also indicates that you are not familiar with power generation technology and its financial assessments. Fluidized bed is the combustion method used with closed cycle water cooling to generate power using lignite coal. Its an established technology plus from your very general macro perspective have you considered the cost of “not having a kwh” in the Pakistan economy and its associated loss in growth and the GNP. Its a general story type viewpoint without due consideration of technical and economic merit. Project and site specific and least cost generation expansion plans have already established that 25 years of power from Thar coal will easily pay itself specially when considering the ‘economic opportunity cost’ of power in Pakistan. What to they say…little knowledge is a dangerous thing?

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  • Singh
    Jan 24, 2012 - 7:25AM

    @Abu,]
    right on spot.

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  • Abdul Qadir
    Jan 24, 2012 - 3:58PM

    Mr. Foaud seems to be lobbyist of oil industry tycoons who are against coal energy in Pakistan. In Thar, we have 175 Billion Tonnes of Proven Coal, Geological Survey of USA and Geological Survey of Pakistan have found it with thier study. Many foreign companies are investing in Thar coal, are they fool?

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  • Cautious
    Jan 24, 2012 - 8:42PM

    To put the Thar Coal project in perspective one might compare it to an American coal mining project. The State of Wyoming has dozens of large scale open pit mines producing low sulfur sub bituminous coal. The Jim Bridger mine for example is over 20 miles long – produces over 6 million short tons annually – feeds a dedicated power plant which produces over 2,110 megawatts feeding a portion of the Pacific Northwest power demand. It is considered a low cost producer using state of the art technology and enormous drag lines for overburden removal. Despite having better quality coal – lower production cost – and close proximity to an existing railway dedicated to moving Wyoming coal – Bridger coal finds it difficult/impossible to market it’s coal elsewhere in the USA.
    .
    The concept of Pakistan producing expensive low quality coal – investing enormous money into a rail system dedicated to transporting coal – and retrofitting plants to burn lignite coal is frankly absurd.

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  • Danyal
    Jan 25, 2012 - 2:29AM

    Here a thing beneficial comes out for Pakistan and here come Indian’s.
    Look at the comments by Indians like;Oh thank God someone tell the right side of a story,That’s what I call Journalism;Pakistani people should open there eyes now.
    If Pakistan has even 2000 million ton of coal so it means it has almost 2 billion ton of coal so why don’t we start using this 2 billion ton,if it gives a minimum of 500 MW/annum ,it’s beneficial for us we need a drop by drop of Electricity for our country,we can use this 500 MW to the industry because industries are being close for 3 days in a week now it’s so devastating just because of Electricity and Gas.And for Gas we must Ban CNG for commercial and residential usage of Transportation,should ban Gas Generators for commercial and residential use(it’s taking a lot of Gas),should put a ban on those industries who are using Gas more than a limit(Limit must be decide).We can save a lot of Gas through these reforms.

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  • From TharParkar
    Jan 29, 2012 - 7:09PM

    The people of Thar pray for the failure of this project! This will rip the place and exploit it. We do not have electricity or water but we are happy and peaceful without it. So don’t come and dig a hole in our beautiful land!

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  • Mitch Lamumba
    Jan 30, 2012 - 6:02PM

    @Amit: Since when did wikipedia became an authentic source of facts?

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  • Mitch Lamumba
    Jan 30, 2012 - 10:19PM

    This article is about Pakistan’s coal reserves.Why are some readers discussing India here.
    Even if these reserves are never explored or made use of,Pakistan has several other options to generate vast amounts of energy.Hydro itself has the potential to generate about 30,000MW and ofcourse we have nuclear power too.

    @Amit according to Wikipedia that you mention,Pakistan is ranked 20th(not 134th) in terms of world coal reserves as per 2008.

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  • Iftekhar
    Jan 31, 2012 - 7:27PM

    Problem is no proper study of ecological damage is done not only in this case of coal reserves but extraction of china clay and other organic products from some plants in Thar desert by China. China is extracted about 50 trucks daily where 5 trucks were supposed to be extracted of china clay. At that rate one can imagine what will be left there in near future while our own ceramics industry both in punjab and sindh will be deprived of valuable raw material. it was PPP govt which had launched solar cells panels project in its first tenure with the help of Dr. Usmani of BCCI but after his death n PPP govt dismissal no one took the project again. Now china and other countries are dumping their alternative energy stuff sensing a market of 180millions much like mobile sets. It is stupidity of our rulers to go for quick buying instead of setting on manufacturing units of those sorts with collaborative centers of excellence in universities. Just theft and copy of a bomb design with clandestine support of rogue states should not be our only matter of pride. Recommend

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