Pakistan’s “Thar” coal Reserves

Engr. Waseem A Khokhar

If All The Oil Reserves of Saudi Arabia & Iran are Put Together;
These Are Approximately 375 Billion Barrels;
A Single Thar Coal Reserve Of Sindh is about 850 Trillion Cubic Feet,
Which is More Than Oil Reserves Of Saudia & Iran.

These reserves are estimated at 850 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of gas, about 30 times higher than Pakistan ‘s proven gas reserves of 28 TCF.

Dr Murtaza Mughal president of Pakistan Economy Watch in a statement said that these reserves of coal worth USD 25 trillion can not only cater the electricity requirements of the country for next 100 years but also save almost four billion dollars in staggering oil import bill.

Just 2% usage of Thar Coal Can Produce 20,000 Mega Watts of Electricity for next 40Years ,without any single Second of Load Shedding.
and if the whole reserves are utilized, then it could easily be imagined how much energy could be generated.

The coal power generation would cost Pakistan PKR 5.67 per unit while power generated by Independent Power Projects cost PKR 9.27.

It Requires Just Initial 420 Billion Rupees Initial Investment,
Whereas Pakistan Receives annually 1220 Billion from Tax Only.

Chinese and other companies had not only carried out surveys and feasibilities of this project but also offered 100 percent investment in last 7 to 8 years but the “Petroleum Gang” always discouraged them in a very systematic way.

But Petroleum lobby , is very strong in Pakistan and they are against any other means of power generation except for the imported oil. This lobby is major beneficiary of the increasing oil bill that is estimated above 15 billion dollar this year. Even GOV. is planning to Sell all these reserve to a company on a very low price.
When Pervez Musharraf was president he gave green signal to embark upon the initiation of work on exploiting energy potential of these coal reserves of Thar under a modern strategy.

Think About This, How We Can Help Our Home Land?

12 thoughts on “Pakistan’s “Thar” coal Reserves”

  1. Environment Polluting Thar Coal Project Versus Environment Friendly Kalabagh Dam.

    It is very strange to note that present Government is advocating for Air Polluting Thar Coal Project Versus Environmental Friendly Kalabagh Dam.

    Kalabagh dam which will increase the water resources of the country is being opposed while Thar coal project,which will consume huge amount of water and will contaminate all water,air and land resources of Pakistan is being adovcated by the governement Clean electricity produced by Kalabagh dam will be available to every one citizen of the country while thar coal project will pollute all water,air and land resources of Pakistan for every one.Thar coal will effect each and every living organism while Kalabagh will not only store water for the time of need but with the generation of electricity will increase the resources of water by sucking up the underground water resources and will provide the clean electricity .
    Coal is one of the most polluting sources of energy available, jeopardizing our health and our environment. While Kalabagh Dams will have multiple advantages and will act as electricity power house,water reserevoir and floods preventor generate electricity,Store water,will improve fertility of lands.
    The Effects of Coal on the Environment.
    Coal as a source of energy is probably the most environmentally damaging of all the traditional sources of energy.
    • One must keep in mind that a typical power coal plant generates 3 million tons of CO2 or 17 tons of carbon per megawatt and draws about 2.3 billion gallons of water per annum from nearby source while on land coal produces mercury which not only renders water useless for human consumption but also for irrigation purpose as well.
    • Coal Power in a Warming World by Barbara Freese et al, published by the Union of Concerned Scientists in October 2008 states that “The underground mining of coal is a dangerous profession, and underground and surface mining are both highly damaging to landscapes, water supplies, and ecosystems”.
    • The Natural Resources Defense Council paper entitled “Coal in a Changing Climate”, issued in February 2007 claims that “Coal mining—and particularly surface or strip mining—poses one of the most significant threats to terrestrial habitats in the United States.”
    • Figures from “Key World Energy Statistics: 2008″ show that coal is responsible for 42% of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions.
    • “Coal in a Changing Climate” shows that coal produces large amounts of airborne toxic chemicals, including sulfur dioxide, mercury, nitrous oxides, arsenic and lead.

    Coal is a highly polluting energy source. It emits much more carbon per unit of energy than oil, and natural gas. CO2 represents the major portion of greenhouse gases. It is, therefore, one of the leading contributors to climate change. From mine to sky, from extraction to combustion — coal pollutes every step of the way. The huge environmental and social costs associated with coal usage make it an expensive option for developing countries. From acid drainage from coal mines, polluting rivers and streams, to the release of mercury and other toxins when it is burned, as well as climate-destroying gases and fine particulates that wreak havoc on human health, COAL is unquestionably, a DIRTY BUSINESS.
    On one side China and India are planning to curb the Carbon emmision by curbing the use of oil,coal and other fossil fuels,and Bangladesh and Maldives are crying for taking measures against rise of seas due to global warming and on other side we Pakistanies are planning to use Thar coal which will not only pollute the whole environment of South Asia but will infact endanger the life of peoples living in Kashmir,Northern areas,NWFP,PUNJAB and Sind as the direction of smoke and dangerous gases will be from east to north west of Pakistan.And people of these areas will suffer from respioratory diseases such as Asthma,Bronchitis and cancer, and people of these areas will suffer from dangers and adverse effects of somking without somking the cigarrets.

    Already Polluted Atmosphere of South Asia.
    South Asia is already suffering from the adverse effects of Brown cloud(Accumulation of Dirty gases in upper atmosphere of Subcontinent and is having negative effects on the heath of population of India and Pakistan ,Moreover there is already shortage of Ozone gas in the upper atmosphere of South Asia,due to which people of South Asia (India, Pakistan,Bangladesh and Sri Lanka ) are not having perfect healthy bodies as compared other reaces of the world.In view of such a bad condition of atmosphere burning the coal is just like to throw the people Pakistan into valley of death
    There are a number of adverse environmental effects of coal mining and burning, specially
    The glaciers of the Himalayas, Karakoram, Hindukush and Pamir ranges in Gilgit-Baltistan contribute significantly to the stream flow of the IBRS. More significantly, during the dry season these glaciers become the system’s only source. Impacts due to climate change on these glaciers have been studied in recent decades and vivid fluctuation of water flow in the Indus River Basin System has been reported.
    Due to flow of toxic gases and smoke from Thar Coal towards North and Western Pakistan,It is the responsibility of Jammu and Kashmir,Northern Areas,NWFP,Punjab and Sind Governments to review the adverse effects of Thar coal as it is the matter of life and death of the people of these areas.As unhealthy environment due to smoke and toxic gases will destroy the beauty of Vallies of Kashmir and Gilgit and Baltistan and will cause health problems such as cancer,asthma,bronchitis and other respiratory and genetic diseases due to environmental pollution in the people of Punjab,NWFP,Kashmir,Gilgit and Baltistan.

    Written By:M.AKRAM KHAN NIAZI.

  2. dear sir,
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    Name:– Pahlajrai
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    surname:- karmani
    age:- 33 y
    sex:– male
    domicile:– Mithi Distt: Tharparkar
    Place of birth:– Mithi distt: Tharparkar
    Qualif:– B.E (Mechanical)
    Religion:– Hindhu
    CNIC :– 44101-0160585-7

  3. zulqarnain hayat khan

    dear sir,
    i have 3 years experience in two big organization and my detail experince in below.
    • Working as HSE Engineer in Descon Engineering Limited, At Engro Chemicals Pakistan Limited Expansion Site, Daharaki (Ammonia-Urea Complex, Phase-III ENVEN 1.3 Project),Since 01-08-07
    • Worked as a HSE Engineer in Descon Engineering Limited at Engro Chemicals Pakistan Limited (During Shutdown April-2009.

    • Worked as shift engineer Engineer in Oil and Gas Development Corporation(OGDCL) at Bobi oil field Sanghar from 06-02-2007 to 30-06-2008


    Working as HSE Engineer (Area in charge) on World’s largest Ammonia-Urea Complex, bearing a capacity of 1.3 million Tons/Year. My responsibilities at site are:

    • Perform safety audits and inspections. After about 40% completion of any project, carry out injury review for identification of pro-active and corrective measure to prevent accidents
    • Conduct Safety meetings
    • Track employee HSE performance, conduct pre job assurance reviews with crews.
    • Support and undertake incident investigation and auditing strategies to ensure complaint correction and performance improvement
    • Perform accident review and accident reporting. Perform Root Cause Analysis, Health And safety hazard analysis, and environmental aspect and impact analysis
    • Monitor and maintain data and information statistics on HSE activities and incident trends to provide analysis and recommendation
    • Ensure that local facility is operating in an environmentally sound manner and in compliance with local ordinance and permit requirements. Ensure that employees conduct their work in accordance with company, customer and regulatory guidelines
    • Visit the different project sites for monitoring and inspection of HSE activities as per instructions of Head QHSE. Monitor site/field activities guiding employees in order to control unsafe acts and conditions through positive feedback and effective counseling
    • Ensure implementation of policies and objectives, integrated management system
    • Take ownership of company’s QHSE policy
    • Analyzing safety data on the daily, weekly and monthly basis to meet the safety targets of the company
    • Responsible for training of workers
    • Visiting to the site with working party and Safety Briefing about all Hazards in project or factory
    • Inspection of Scaffolding
    • Emergency Equipment Inspections
    • Risk Assessment and Environmental Risk Assessment before starting work
    • Making regular Non-compliance reports on daily bases
    • Watching carefully all hazards and giving various ideas in safety meetings

    • Descon HSE Engineer training certificate

    • ENGRO and Eni from Italy CERTIFICATIONS:
    Effective safety supervision
    MSA(management safety audit)

    • Permit To Work
    • Work At Height
    • PPE’S
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    • Crane Operation
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    • Accident Reporting And Investigation
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    • JSA(job safety analysis)
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    Rajesh Puri Goswami
    House # E-104, E-117 Street # 04
    Near Sadique Kiryana Merchant
    Cell#03133525716, 0233-860347
    To work with highly organized in a professional environment where high professional standards commitment and integrity are expected and rewarded so as to utilize professional capabilities for the best benefit of the organization and thereby achieving a good career.


    FATHER NAME: – Kanwal Puri
    SURNAME: – Goswami
    SEX: – Male
    DATE OF BIRTH: – 16-01-1982
    PLACE OF BIRTH: – Mirpurkhas.
    DOMICILE: – Mirpurkhas.
    N.I.C NO: – 44103-9606305-9
    MARRITAL STATUS: – Married
    RELIGION: – Hindu

    Degree Board/ University Grade/Division University of Sindh 2nd Division
    D.A.E (Civil) 3 Year Diploma Civil S.B.T.E Karachi 2nd Division
    H.S.C(Inter) B.I.S.E Hyderabad “C” Grade
    S.S.C (Matric) B.I.S.E Hyderabad “C” Grade

    Good Communication Skills in

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    · 2 Year Tile Shop
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  5. If it is true that the coal reserves worth $25 trillion it means that each and every Pakistani has a wealth of Rs.11.40 million (calculated on the basis of population of 180 million). It is quite humiliating that a rich nation is begging on international forum and people of Pakistani are living below poverty line and begging on the roads. Even if the whole Thar coal is sold for $10 trillion and this amount is invested in international market and fetch 5% per annum then it will be more than 12 times of one year budget of Pakistan. It is questionable that why it is not done? Either we do not know our worth or we do not want to bring prosperity to the people of Pakistan.

    Only this one coal reserve can solve most of the problems of Pakistan, no one will go to abroad for jobs, crime rate will go down, we will be a proud nation as we will not have to spread our hands for money, education and medical will be free and many more benefits we can have.

    1. If its true than why we are suffring and we are faceing shame in the world
      why why……? who will use this oil and gas and coal and gold reservs i want to know who will do the action or only this news for tempraryly happynes of nation
      we need to do something not only silent.

      Fiaz Ahmed Awan
      Project coordinatior
      work in saudi arabia

    1. @Engr. Shafiq Maitla,
      THAR COAL – Sindh/Engro joint venture. Govt. of Sindh may need to be commended for its effort for creating a Private/Public sector partnership with Engro for Development of Thar Coal, however, serious technical, administrative and financial cost issues remain, which need to be clarified and addressed, in the public interest. The Sindh/Engro project depends on (a) completion of a new feasibility study acceptable to Engro (b) Availability of 350 cusecs (cubic feet per second) water from the Indus River System for the operation of the Power Plant. Firstly, what was the logic for selection of block 2 of Thar coal field for the Sindh/Engro project, whereby new feasibility studies have to be undertaken which will take three more years and cost Millions of additional Dollars? Instead of selecting block 1, which has been thoroughly studied at a cost of over 250 million already, paid by the Govt, for which a very comprehensive report by Rheinbraun/RWE Power is on file with Govt. of Sindh since 2004. This study of Block 1 of Thar coal field confirms proven reserves of 1 Billion tons for this block, whereas only 180 Million tons of coal will be needed to operate a 1000 MW power plant for a duration of 30 years, the various coal seams start at around 450 feet depth and occur up to 600/650 feet, there are 3 ground water aquifers of which the base aquifer is significant and highly pressurized, the only viable option is Open Cast/Open Pit Mining by dewatering these aquifers. A state of the art mathematical model simulating Thar coal project area ground water conditions employing the “Finite volume method” has been used to formulate a dewatering plan for Block 1. The following quality parameters also stand evaluated for block 1 of Thar field: Coal Quality Lignite Ash (avg) 7% Sulphur (avg) 1.4% Moisture (as received) 48% Heating Value (as received) 5,140 Btu/Lb. Moisture (final) 12% Heating Value (dry) 10,280 Btu/Lb
      Important Civil and Geotechnical Engineering, Financial and other criteria needed to assess feasibility of an open pit mine and Power Plant for block 1 have already been established, including, identification of the geologic units, shear strengths, slope stability analysis, cut slope inclinations, stripping ratios, siting of inside and outside dumping areas, siting of Power Plant, siting the township, conceptual mine design, dewatering plan, waste water treatment, best types of equipment to use, power generation and distribution issues, a full financial analysis etc. have been established for Block 1 and a project for this block has been ready for final design and construction since 2004, and work can be started immediately. Capital Demand of Sindh/Engro for Block 2 $3.3 Billion. Capital Demand for Block 1 $1.8 Billion. Block 2 will cost $1.5 Billion extra, which is 83% higher than Block 1. $1.5 Billion is a staggering amount to be paying extra and for what? This huge difference needs to be explained in the public interest. Sindh/Engro project is dependent on being provided with 350 cusecs (Cubic feet per second) water from the Indus river irrigation system, for which the Govt. of Sindh has sanctioned 176 million Rupees for a feasibility study. Prequalification of Consultants has been advertised by the Dept. of Mines and Minerals under the World Bank Technical Assistance Program. There is a chronic water shortage in Sindh, 350 cusecs is a sizable quantity of water, where is this water going to come from for the Sindh/Engro coal project? The Coal project is located near Islamkot in the Thar Desert, which is outside the Sukkur Barrage Command Zone; the nearest source of Indus water is Mithrao and Jumrao Canals which are branches of Nara Canal, which in turn draws its water from Sukkur Barrage. Due to siltation of the Canals and degradation of the 77 year old regulatory system, water carrying capacity of both the Nara Canal and its branch Canals stands diminished. In order to meet agriculture demand these canals are forced to carry water beyond their current capacity. It will be very difficult, if not next to impossible, for these Canals to carry an additional 350 cusecs of water for Thar coal development without massive remodeling of the Canals and their regulatory systems. This will cost Billions and at least 10 years.
      Islamkot is topographically located at a higher elevation than the canal system, conventional gravity driven channel flow of water to the coal project is not possible, the water (if it was even available) will have to be pumped upslope, the Capital and Operational costs will be prohibitive and with current electricity shortfalls in the country, where will the power for the pumps come from? Govt of Sindh and the World Bank may spend 176 Million on this feasibility study, but no one should be under the illusion that 350 cusecs (cubic feet per second) of extra water will magically appear from the Indus river system and will be easily and economically transported to Islamkot to give us coal based power. This study will be a waste of time and money. Sponsors of this study should reconsider this commitment in view of the overall facts. The real concern is that after all the money is spent on studies and 3 years of time lost, if water cannot be provided from the Indus river system or if Engro for any reason deems the project unfeasible, it will be back to square one for Thar Coal, minus a lot of money and time. Development of block 1 of Thar field by this Sindh/Engro venture would have been ideal; it would have saved time and money. New feasibilities would not have been required. Actual work could be started immediately. Perhaps it is not too late. Bringing Indus River water for the Thar Power Plant appears neither economically nor practically viable. A technically superior and cost effective alternative would be to recover excess moisture from the coal and use that for plant operation. A closed circle cooling cycle Power Plant must be selected, this type of a plant doesn’t waste water but re-circulates and reuses the same water and is considered ideal for arid environments where water is scarce. Thar coal quality is classified as lignite with high moisture content; this is not a liability but a huge practical asset given the scarcity of water in the desert. Before being fed into the power plant boilers, coal will be made to pass through a drying plant whereby the moisture content will be reduced from 48% to 12% and the drying plant will condense and recover water as shown. Drying plant Lignite coal input @ 48% Moisture 6.0 million tons/yr Drying Plant Lignite coal output @ 12%Moisture 3.6 million tons/yr Total weight of Extracted water = 2.4 million tons/yr 84% Water recovery = 2 Million Tons/yr or 285 tons/ hour.
      Based on 7,000 hours/year Power Plant operations the water consumption of the closed circle plant will be 1.8 million tons/ year or 257 tons/hour, water recovery of 285 tons/hour from coal exceeds the plant consumption requirements and therefore, no additional water will be needed. Lignite Coal drying not only provides water for the power plant but improves boiler efficiency, the heating value of the dry coal doubles from 5120 BTU/lb to 10240 BTU/lb; Operation and maintenance costs are reduced because of lesser volumes of coal being handled. Selection of a closed circle cooling cycle plant almost eliminates the need for large volumes of waste water disposal as the waste water is only 2% to 3% of what it would be with an open cycle plant. This technical information has been available with all the departments in Sindh dealing with Thar coal, namely, Department of Mines and Minerals, Planning and Development Dept, Sindh Coal Authority, Dept: of Coal and Energy, and Thar Coal Energy Board (TCEB). Why it was not utilized? Was this vital information for block 1 purposely withheld from the decision makers? Including the World Bank, If not, what was the justification for selecting block 2 for the Sindh/Engro project, at a significant additional cost to the nation, both in time and money. The public has a right to know. In order to streamline things, the Government created “Thar Coal Energy Board” (TCEB) to be the sole lead agency for dealing with all issues pertaining to Development of Thar Coal. Government’s good intentions appear completely sabotaged and it is business as usual, with numerous departments of Sindh simultaneously dealing with Thar Coal issues, where the right hand sometimes doesn’t know what the left hand is doing. Duplications upon duplications and ad-hoc decisions are causing huge financial losses and no uniform or coherent policy exists for Thar coal. Thar Coal Energy Board (TCEB) appears neutralized, the $36 Million World Bank Technical Assistance program for Thar Coal is being managed by Dept of Mines and Minerals and not by TCEB as may have been the government’s original intent. Consultants for Rs. 176 million water studies will also be selected, overseen and controlled by Dept of Mines and Minerals and strangely, the project will be executed by Sindh Irrigation and Drainage Authority (SIDA). TCEB is nowhere in Sight and will have no control in the matter; this is ad-hocism at its best.
      SIDA is experiencing its own crises, masses of employees are being fired, Managing Directors change every 3 to 4 months, their own World Bank funded $175 Million WSIP 1 project is 2 years behind schedule. Should SIDA be burdened with the additional responsibility of Thar Coal as well? This is a very expensive, $3.3 Billion, complex, mega project; it needs to be taken seriously and cannot be successfully executed in an uncoordinated and ad-hoc manner by multiple Govt. departments. A course correction is required otherwise this whole exercise will most definitely fail, in which case the financial losses to the nation will be staggering and the invaluable Thar coal resource will remain where it has been for millions of years, buried below ground. Zahoor A. Abbasi Sr. VP, Delta Engineering, San Diego Pakistan contact # 0331 246 9248 PS: The writer is a USA based Civil and Geotechnical Engineer (Currently on a visit to Pakistan) who has worked in Thar Desert and is very familiar with the conditions affecting Thar coal. Open Pit mining is primarily a Geotechnical Engineering function. The intent of this article is not to criticize anyone but to educate and raise public awareness about a matter of great importance to this nation. The professional opinions offered herein are thoroughly researched and documented and are offered in good faith with intent to assist. I will defend these opinions in any debate, with anyone, at anytime and at any forum. In fact I would challenge the people responsible to refute these assertions in an open TV debate.

    2. Thar Coal Reserves is the major break through for the economy of Pakistan. Thar coal has the potential to pump 25000 Bill US$ in National Economy.The exploitation of these reserves & to cycle black gold into energy will bring a major change in Pakistan. Let us work together day & night t implement this project. Dreams will become true if we are successful to shape this project properly. I am available and keen tojoin hnd to work on this projec. Engr. Shafiq Maitla

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