KARACHI: UK-based Oracle Coalfields bid to develop the country’s first major coal mine was boosted on Thursday as it was issued a mining lease.
Sindh government granted the long-awaited lease for a block on the Thar coalfield and extends for 30 years with an option be renew it for a further three decades.
This meeting held at Chief Minister’s House also disclosed that the company has entered a memorandum of understanding with Karachi Electric Supply Company to develop initially a 300MW mine – mouth power plant by 2015 to be scaled up to 1,100MW.
The company plans to invest up to $610 million for development of the open pit coal mine with $224 million allocated just for the mining equipment.
Oracle Coalfield CEO Shahrukh Khan on the occasion said work is expected to commence in early 2013 and full scale production of five million tons per annum coal in 2015.
Total cash costs were put at $42.21 per ton, and life of the mine at an estimated 23 years, according to multi-media news organisation proactive investors.
Thar Coal resources can be used for power generation and provide the much-needed energy security to the country, he said.
Pre-development groundwork will commence from next month which will include a four kilometre access road to their block, site office and ancillary buildings for initial management team.
Work on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is also planned to commence form May 2012 which will be part of a long-term sustainable development for local communities including job creation and training of local workforce. Establishing a medical centre, provision of clean water and electricity to local communities and veterinary services for livestock of the community is also part of the plan.
Khan added that “the company remains committed to achieving its objective of earliest possible production and contribution to the energy sector”. Sindh Chief Minister said that power production will benefit the people of the province.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 13th, 2012.