Member of the Science and Technology Planning Commission Dr Samar Mubarakmand on Monday said that the Thar coal project will become operational in December 2013 and will bring prosperity into the country.
Talking to a news channel, he further said that at least $115 billion is required to materialise this project. He added that Thar contains 175 billion ton reserves of coal, out of which 1000 megawatts (MW) electric power may be generated for the next 30 years.
“Pakistan has enough coal reserves that can provide electricity to the country for more than 500 years,” he said.
He said that development work was in progress and the first 50 MW gasified project had almost been completed. He said that the project was to cost Rs8.99 billion with a foreign exchange component of Rs5.85 billion that was approved by the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council last year.
To another question, Dr Mubarakmand said that the success of the Thar coal project would lead to investment from leading international companies. He said that several foreign companies wanted to participate in the project and had shown interest.
He said that these companies are just waiting for the results of the maiden 50 MW pilot project, adding that if the pilot project was successful, a barrage of investment would automatically follow. He said that the coal in Thar mines could not be extricated but used to manufacture electric power, diesel and fertiliser.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 27th, 2011.