Pakistan’s Thar coal: a comparative study

By Kamran Riaz

In Pakistan, people, who have absolutely no knowledge of an issue under discussion, tell conspiracy theories about it with such conviction that one starts believing that perhaps these people are narrating a firsthand account of acts to which they were eye witnesses. 

Something similar is happening with Thar Coal today. Print and electronic media are awash with stories about how we have the world’s largest reserves of coal in the Thar desert but still we are not benefiting from this coal. 

Being very familiar with the Thar coal project in my professional capacity, I find the proliferation of such myths quite amusing, even bewildering. Perhaps, it would be better for us as a nation to investigate the facts of an issue first instead of immediately resorting to emotional sloganeering.

Coal occurs in nature in different types.  The deposits at Thar are of Lignite type of coal.  These deposits have very high moisture content with water level approaching almost 50% and are considered to be of inferior quality.  This coal is highly volatile and cannot be transported over long distances.  So, exporting this coal after extraction from ground or transporting it to more convenient locations is not possible. That is why it is suitable primarily for mine-mouth power generation.

The size of these reserves is being reported as 175 billion tons and this figure is being repeatedly touted on the media as enough for fulfilling our power generation needs for centuries to come.  At the moment the top ten countries with largest proved recoverable lignite coal reserves in the world are as follows:

Proved recoverable Lignite Coal reserves: (see table)   

Energy council report

As shown in the table above, the country with the largest proved recoverable reserves of lignite coal in the world is Australia with about 37 billion ton with the sum of all such reserves all over the world being about 150 billion ton.  So if the recoverable lignite reserves at Thar are actually proved to be 175 billion tons, then these would be greater than total reserves all over the world combined. 

The fact is that the reported reserves of 175 billion tons at Thar are not “proved-recoverable” reserves but rather the bulk of these reserves have a relatively low degree of geological assurance.  Out of these purported 175 billion tons, only about 2.7 billion tons are ‘measured’ reserves while about 9.3 billion tons are ‘indicated’ reserves. The remaining 163 billion tons are “inferred” reserves (lying within a radius of 1.2 to 4.8 km from a point of coal measurement) and “hypothetical” reserves (undiscovered coal, generally an extension of inferred reserves in which coal lies more than 4.8 km from a point of measurement). It is obvious that given the geological evidence so far available, the claim of 175 billion tons of reserves is highly speculative. If the Thar coal reserves had really been that big as is being claimed then there would have been a long queue of international mining giants trying to get concessions for mining rights.  If such companies can go to places like war torn Iraq, they can certainly come to Pakistan.  But the apparent lack of interest from foreign investors as a tell tale sign that these claims of huge and profitable reserves are not believed by the major players in the field.

However, even if these reserves are for example 3 billion tons instead of 175 billion tons, still significant amount of electricity can be produced from Thar coal.

The other common myth is that there is some organized conspiracy to stop utilization of Thar coal.  Some people blame it on oil marketing companies that are allegedly afraid that the coal from Thar will significantly reduce oil consumption in the country.  Others blame it on foreign powers that do not want Pakistan to be economically independent.

If anything the delay in exploitation of Thar coal can be attributed primarily to the economic rationale and to a lesser extent to the traditional slow pace of our bureaucracy.  Much is made of the story of the Chinese company Shenhua which did a preliminary feasibility study of Thar coal but decided not to pursue the project further allegedly on disagreement with proposed tariff.  In fact after doing a preliminary feasibility study in 2002, Shenhua had reached the conclusion that the Thar coal project was not feasible purely an economic basis at that time because the cost of extraction of coal was very high and based on international coal prices at the time, it made more sense to import coal for power generation.  However, the company recommended that Thar coal should still be exploited for social reasons as the project would help in social uplift of the extremely backward Thar area. 

A primary determinant in successful exploitation of any mineral resource is the cost of exploration vs. cost of import.  For example, Canada has one of the largest reserves of oil in the world.  But unlike Middle East where it is relatively much cheaper to extract oil from the ground, the cost of oil exploration is much higher in Canada.  So it is not economically feasible for Canada to extract oil from its own resources at a higher cost when it can import the same from foreign sources at a much cheaper cost.  However, as the price of imported oil increases, Canada will be extracting more and more oil from local sources.  If the cost of extracting local oil for Canada is say $ 125, it does not make much sense to extract local oil when foreign oil is available at $ 40 a barrel but when the oil price in international markets rises to $ 150, Canadians will be going all out to extract more and more oil locally as it now becomes cheaper.

Developing the mining infrastructure is a much more time consuming process as compared to installing a power plant and is likely to take anywhere between 6-8 years.  Therefore, the previous Sindh government could have started work on the mining of coal as that phase is likely to take about six years.  In the mean time, it could have commissioned a bankable feasibility study for power generation.  Furthermore, additional uses of Thar coal could have been investigated (as is being done now) like gasification, rather than unnecessarily focusing on making it an exclusively power generation project.

It is also another myth that this project will alleviate the need for hydel electricity.  The fact is that any electricity eventually produced from Thar coal would be at least twice as expensive as that generated from large dams.  The main problem in electricity sector is not how to generate electricity, but how to generate electricity at an affordable price.  If the issue had only been power generation than we also have abundant wind and solar resources, but these cannot be fully utilized because electricity produced from these sources would be prohibitively expensive.  The average power generation cost given the current generation mix of Pakistan is about 6.5 cents/kwh.  Electricity from Thar coal would provide relief to consumers if it can be generated at a cost lower than this average. 

However, previous Sindh government used to criticize NEPRA that had given an indicative tariff of 7.8 cents/kwh to Thar coal project saying that the tariff was too low and unacceptable.  As a matter of fact that tariff was the highest coal based tariff anywhere in the world.

All this does not mean that Thar coal project should be abandoned.  Given the current electricity crisis and the need to increase usage of indigenous resources for power generation, Thar coal can still prove to be a useful source of energy.  Any electricity generated from Thar coal might help in reducing the need of importing expensive furnace oil. Gasification can also be a potential use of Thar coal. 

The involvement of a professionally managed and reputed company like Engro Pakistan is also a good omen.  Let us hope that it will prove to be a very beneficial project for the country.  What it will do is diversify our electricity generation sources, save us some foreign exchange and decrease the present gap between supply and demand of electricity.  Most importantly, it will bring much needed development and employment to Thar area.

— (The writer is a Chartered Financial Analyst and International Energy Consultant who has worked extensively in electricity sector in Pakistan.)

 

Top ten countries   

Lignite Coal Reserves
(Million tons) 

01. Australia  37.30
02. USA        30.24
03. China      18.60
04. Serbia (Kosovo) 13.50
05. Russian Federation         10.45
06. Germany 6.56
07. India       4.60
08. Greece              3.90
09. Kazakhstan       3.13
10. Hungry    2.93
Total proved Recoverable  
Lignite Coal reserves  
in all the countries of the  
world combined       149.86
Source:World  

 Source: The News

4 Comments

  1. Zahoor Abbasi

    Thar coal: a comparative study
    In the above captioned article published recently in the News, it has been correctly pointed out that, in Pakistan people tend to start serious discussions on issues that they have no idea about.
    In the author, Mr. Kamran Riaz’s own words “In Pakistan, people, who have absolutely no knowledge of an issue under discussion, tell conspiracy theories about it with such conviction that one starts believing that perhaps these people are narrating a firsthand account of acts to which they were eye witnesses.”
    Mr. Riaz further adds: “Something similar is happening with Thar Coal today. Print and electronic media are awash with stories about how we have the world’s largest reserves of coal in the Thar desert but still we are not benefiting from this coal.”.
    The author Mr. Riaz finds proliferation of such myths amusing, even bewildering and adds “Perhaps, it would be better for us as a nation to investigate the facts of an issue first instead of immediately resorting to emotional sloganeering”.
    One couldn’t agree more with Kamran Riaz’s very accurate assessment of this uniquely Pakistani Phenomenon. However, something needs to be said in support of those people, to whom something definitely appears to be wrong with the whole Thar Coal picture. Whether or not it is a conspiracy, it would be dependant on the mind of the beholder.
    There is an old saying, “If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and talks like a duck, then it must be a duck.” The whole Thar Coal saga for at least the last 15 years has been either a series of unlikely coincidences and a comedy of errors or something more sinister and since our top bureaucratic brass in Islamabad and Karachi are anything but comedians it leads to the only conclusion that Thar Coal Development was and probably still is being deliberately delayed and even sabotaged.
    Out of many examples supportive of this hypothesis, only a handful is being mentioned here in order to illustrate the various impediments that have been created to hinder progress on Thar Coal.
    Contrary to the claims made in Kamran Riaz’s article, there was in fact, a long queue of international mining giants trying to get concessions for mining rights for Thar Coal during 1994/1995, many such companies did come to Pakistan, signed MOU’s, set up offices and field camps and started importing equipment. But after the change of Government in 1996, the new Govt decided that they were going to focus on Hydel Power instead and coal power was not needed, the then serving Petroleum Minister went on record to announce this sudden and dramatic policy shift in 1996/97. All these international companies were therefore driven away, sustaining huge losses. Current lack of interest by international mining companies is largely due to lack of credibility, primarily caused by Government policy inconsistencies rather than any deficiency in the resource base of Thar Coal, as erroneously claimed by Mr. Riaz in his article, This article further says:
    “Much is made of the story of the Chinese company Shenhua which did a preliminary feasibility study of Thar coal but decided not to pursue the project further allegedly on disagreement with proposed tariff. In fact after doing a preliminary feasibility study in 2002, Shenhua had reached the conclusion that the Thar coal project was not feasible purely an economic basis at that time because the cost of extraction of coal was very high and based on international coal prices at the time, it made more sense to import coal for power generation.”
    Reports and correspondence by Shenhua, on file with Sindh Govt contains no such conclusions; on the contrary the Tariff dispute is well documented and was also written about in newspapers including Asia Times of May 18, 2007, which states
    China quits $1.5bn Pakistan coal project By Syed Fazl-e-Haider

    QUETTA, Pakistan – The Shenhua Group Corp of China is quitting the US$1.5 billion Thar coal project in Pakistan…….The main reason for the withdrawal is the power tariff rate offered by Pakistan, which the Chinese side deemed insufficient to continue power generation……Pakistan had previously turned down Shenhua’s demand for a tariff of 5.7 US cents per unit for the Thar project…….The Chinese group later expressed its willingness to install the power plant at a price of up to 6.5 cents per unit, but the government had not yet made a final decision on the tariff”
    Note: NEPRA finally decided on 7.8 cents Tariff on Jan 11, 2008, after 4 years of denying Shenhua’s requests and after Shenhua had already quit.
    The assertion that cost of extraction of Thar Coal is higher than imported coal is yet another fallacy; RWE powers feasibility study for block 1 completed in 2004 calculated the production cost of Thar lignite at $36.5/ton which is much cheaper than imported coal. No one in or outside the Govt has challenged this figure.
    Mr. Kamran Riaz would be better served to heed his own advice of investigating facts before printing information that tends to mislead people. The foregoing discussion on the subject article is intended as a professional discourse and not a personal attack on the author or an expression of doubt on his integrity. On the contrary it is hoped that a frank and free exchange of opinions between professionals, done in good faith would be in the overall best interests of the Thar coal project and its ultimate beneficiaries, the people and the nation of Pakistan.
    The article presents partial truths as solid scientific facts thus creating new myths which are conveying a negative image about the whole Thar Coal project.
    Partial truths and half truths are far more dangerous than total falsehoods. (Samuel Huntington)
    Example, the following passage: “The deposits at Thar are of Lignite type of coal. These deposits have very high moisture content with water level approaching almost 50% and are considered to be of inferior quality. This coal is highly volatile and cannot be transported over long distances. So, exporting this coal after extraction from ground or transporting it to more convenient locations is not possible. That is why it is suitable primarily for mine-mouth power generation.”
    Yes, the coal quality is lignite and it is a younger formation of coal and therefore compared to other coal classifications such as Anthracite, Bituminous and Sub Bituminous it has lesser carbon and therefore lesser heating value, but then majority of coal found in the rest of the world and used for power generation is Lignite. The high moisture content is not a liability as popular perception may have people believe, but a huge practical asset given the scarcity of water in the desert. Before being fed into the power plant boilers, Thar lignite @ 48% – 50% moisture will be made to pass through a drying plant where the moisture content will be reduced to 12% and the drying plant will condense and recover water which can be used to operate the power plant, 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 feedstock being handled. Therefore, the Lignite found in Thar is not, and I repeat not inferior to that found elsewhere in the world.
    Frankly, the notion that this coal is so volatile that it cannot even be transported is so ridiculous that even a school boy would laugh at it. Where did this idea come from, it is Coal, not TNT or Nitro Glycerin bomb, it doesn’t explode. I probably still have sack full of Thar coal sitting at my house in Hyderabad, (I brought it back as a souvenir when we ran into it while drilling for water near Islamkot in 1990), my house hasn’t blown up in 20 years. I guess, someone must have read something, somewhere about coal fires or spontaneous combustion and decided to use it as yet another half truth to discredit the Thar Coal resource, by presenting it as a scientific fact and informing all of Pakistan through a national publication that this coal is dangerous, don’t go near it or you might blow up and die, because this coal is volatile. What irresponsible, unprofessional nonsense to feed people and to create fear.

    The rather lengthy discussion on the estimates of the coal reserve and the various classification methodologies as to what constitutes “measured recoverable” or “indicated” or “inferred” reserves etc serves only to confuse the casual reader and create questions in their mind. The use of buzz words such as hypothetical, purported, highly speculative etc, may sound impressive to the casual reader and perhaps help the author to drive home the point as to whether Thar coal is even worth pursuing, one also wonders what qualifies a “Chartered Financial Analyst” to make a blanket technical statement about Thar coal deposits i.e. “bulk of these reserves have a relatively low degree of geological assurance”.
    As impressive as the statistical charts in the article may look in order to support the authors critical point of view, it will be important to realize that a different chart can as easily be pulled off the internet to justify a totally opposite point of view, economists and financial experts constantly manipulate statistics in this manner to emphasize or justify whatever it is that they want people to believe on that particular day. A classic example of this type of manipulation is a statement issued by America’s Chief Economist, the famous Alan Greenspan, Chairman of the Federal Reserve, at a time of very high inflation (when housing, energy and food prices had tripled) “if you factor out housing, food and energy prices, there is really no inflation in America.” It will be a disservice to factor things in or out of the Thar coal project and it would be best to stay with the facts.
    The Canadian example used in the article, presumably refers to the Tar Sand Oil deposits in Calgary, Alberta. If this is correct, the example is not comparable or applicable to Thar Coal as the nature and type of these two fossil fuels are different, furthermore, the infrastructure in Calgary is fully developed and the Canadian economy is huge and diversified therefore it can manage and sustain market based responses. A more appropriate example would have been that of South Africa who had to develop their coal resources, irrespective of market price fluctuations, to survive as a nation during decades of international sanctions, Pakistan is pretty much in a similar situation and needs to develop its indigenous thermal power resources and save its precious foreign exchange, once we are there than we can worry about the classic economic theories.
    There should be no doubt that the Coal resources of Thar are real and viable, enough studies have been done by international experts to support and substantiate this opinion, and it is in Pakistan’s vital National interest that this resource be developed forthwith and not be allowed to get bogged down by confusion or doubts created by ill-informed and un researched opinions.
    Zahoor A. Abbasi zabbasi@live.com
    (The writer is a USA based professional Geo Technical Engineer, with extensive experience of working in the Thar Desert.)

  2. Zahoor Abbasi

    Thar coal: a comparative study

    In the above captioned article published recently in the News dated 26th Oct, 2009 (www.thenews.com.pk), it has been correctly pointed out that, in Pakistan people tend to start serious discussions on issues that they have no idea about.

    In the author, Mr. Kamran Riaz’s own words “In Pakistan, people, who have absolutely no knowledge of an issue under discussion, tell conspiracy theories about it with such conviction that one starts believing that perhaps these people are narrating a firsthand account of acts to which they were eye witnesses.”

    Mr. Riaz further adds: “Something similar is happening with Thar Coal today. Print and electronic media are awash with stories about how we have the world’s largest reserves of coal in the Thar desert but still we are not benefiting from this coal.”.

    The author Mr. Riaz finds proliferation of such myths amusing, even bewildering and adds “Perhaps, it would be better for us as a nation to investigate the facts of an issue first instead of immediately resorting to emotional sloganeering”.

    One couldn’t agree more with Kamran Riaz’s very accurate assessment of this uniquely Pakistani Phenomenon. However, something needs to be said in support of those people, to whom something definitely appears to be wrong with the whole Thar Coal picture. Whether or not it is a conspiracy, it would be dependant on the mind of the beholder.

    There is an old saying, “If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and talks like a duck, then it must be a duck.” The whole Thar Coal saga for at least the last 15 years has been either a series of unlikely coincidences and a comedy of errors or something more sinister and since our top bureaucratic brass in Islamabad and Karachi are anything but comedians it leads to the only conclusion that Thar Coal Development was and probably still is being deliberately delayed and even sabotaged.

    Out of many examples supportive of this hypothesis, only a handful is being mentioned here in order to illustrate the various impediments that have been created to hinder progress on Thar Coal.

    Contrary to the claims made in Kamran Riaz’s article, there was in fact, a long queue of international mining giants trying to get concessions for mining rights for Thar Coal during 1994/1995, many such companies did come to Pakistan, signed MOU’s, set up offices and field camps and started importing equipment. But after the change of Government in 1996, the new Govt decided that they were going to focus on Hydel Power instead and coal power was not needed, the then serving Petroleum Minister went on record to announce this sudden and dramatic policy shift in 1996/97. All these international companies were therefore driven away, sustaining huge losses. Current lack of interest by international mining companies is largely due to lack of credibility, primarily caused by Government policy inconsistencies rather than any deficiency in the resource base of Thar Coal, as erroneously claimed by Mr. Riaz in his article, This article further says:

    “Much is made of the story of the Chinese company Shenhua which did a preliminary feasibility study of Thar coal but decided not to pursue the project further allegedly on disagreement with proposed tariff. In fact after doing a preliminary feasibility study in 2002, Shenhua had reached the conclusion that the Thar coal project was not feasible purely an economic basis at that time because the cost of extraction of coal was very high and based on international coal prices at the time, it made more sense to import coal for power generation.”

    Reports and correspondence by Shenhua, on file with Sindh Govt contains no such conclusions; on the contrary the Tariff dispute is well documented and was also written about in newspapers including Asia Times of May 18, 2007, which states

    China quits $1.5bn Pakistan coal project By Syed Fazl-e-Haider
    QUETTA, Pakistan – The Shenhua Group Corp of China is quitting the US$1.5 billion Thar coal project in Pakistan…….The main reason for the withdrawal is the power tariff rate offered by Pakistan, which the Chinese side deemed insufficient to continue power generation……Pakistan had previously turned down Shenhua’s demand for a tariff of 5.7 US cents per unit for the Thar project…….The Chinese group later expressed its willingness to install the power plant at a price of up to 6.5 cents per unit, but the government had not yet made a final decision on the tariff”

    Note: NEPRA finally decided on 7.8 cents Tariff on Jan 11, 2008, after 4 years of denying Shenhua’s requests and after Shenhua had already quit.
    The assertion that cost of extraction of Thar Coal is higher than imported coal is yet another fallacy; RWE powers feasibility study for block 1 completed in 2004 calculated the production cost of Thar lignite at $36.5/ton which is much cheaper than imported coal. No one in or outside the Govt has challenged this figure.

    Mr. Kamran Riaz would be better served to heed his own advice of investigating facts before printing information that tends to mislead people. The foregoing discussion on the subject article is intended as a professional discourse and not a personal attack on the author or an expression of doubt on his integrity. On the contrary it is hoped that a frank and free exchange of opinions between professionals, done in good faith would be in the overall best interests of the Thar coal project and its ultimate beneficiaries, the people and the nation of Pakistan.

    The article presents partial truths as solid scientific facts thus creating new myths which are conveying a negative image about the whole Thar Coal project.

    Partial truths and half truths are far more dangerous than total falsehoods. (Samuel Huntington)

    Example, the following passage: “The deposits at Thar are of Lignite type of coal. These deposits have very high moisture content with water level approaching almost 50% and are considered to be of inferior quality. This coal is highly volatile and cannot be transported over long distances. So, exporting this coal after extraction from ground or transporting it to more convenient locations is not possible. That is why it is suitable primarily for mine-mouth power generation.”

    Yes, the coal quality is lignite and it is a younger formation of coal and therefore compared to other coal classifications such as Anthracite, Bituminous and Sub Bituminous it has lesser carbon and therefore lesser heating value, but then majority of coal found in the rest of the world and used for power generation is Lignite. The high moisture content is not a liability as popular perception may have people believe, but a huge practical asset given the scarcity of water in the desert. Before being fed into the power plant boilers, Thar lignite @ 48% – 50% moisture will be made to pass through a drying plant where the moisture content will be reduced to 12% and the drying plant will condense and recover water which can be used to operate the power plant, 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 feedstock being handled. Therefore, the Lignite found in Thar is not, and I repeat not inferior to that found elsewhere in the world.

    Frankly, the notion that this coal is so volatile that it cannot even be transported is so ridiculous that even a school boy would laugh at it. Where did this idea come from, it is Coal, not TNT or Nitro Glycerin bomb, it doesn’t explode. I probably still have sack full of Thar coal sitting at my house in Hyderabad, (I brought it back as a souvenir when we ran into it while drilling for water near Islamkot in 1990), my house hasn’t blown up in 20 years. I guess, someone must have read something, somewhere about coal fires or spontaneous combustion and decided to use it as yet another half truth to discredit the Thar Coal resource, by presenting it as a scientific fact and informing all of Pakistan through a national publication that this coal is dangerous, don’t go near it or you might blow up and die, because this coal is volatile. What irresponsible, unprofessional nonsense to feed people and to create fear.

    The rather lengthy discussion on the estimates of the coal reserve and the various classification methodologies as to what constitutes “measured recoverable” or “indicated” or “inferred” reserves etc serves only to confuse the casual reader and create questions in their mind. The use of buzz words such as hypothetical, purported, highly speculative etc, may sound impressive to the casual reader and perhaps help the author to drive home the point as to whether Thar coal is even worth pursuing, one also wonders what qualifies a “Chartered Financial Analyst” to make a blanket technical statement about Thar coal deposits i.e. “bulk of these reserves have a relatively low degree of geological assurance”.

    As impressive as the statistical charts in the article may look in order to support the authors critical point of view, it will be important to realize that a different chart can as easily be pulled off the internet to justify a totally opposite point of view, economists and financial experts constantly manipulate statistics in this manner to emphasize or justify whatever it is that they want people to believe on that particular day. A classic example of this type of manipulation is a statement issued by America’s Chief Economist, the famous Alan Greenspan, Chairman of the Federal Reserve, at a time of very high inflation (when housing, energy and food prices had tripled) “if you factor out housing, food and energy prices, there is really no inflation in America.” It will be a disservice to factor things in or out of the Thar coal project and it would be best to stay with the facts.

    The Canadian example used in the article, presumably refers to the Tar Sand Oil deposits in Calgary, Alberta. If this is correct, the example is not comparable or applicable to Thar Coal as the nature and type of these two fossil fuels are different, furthermore, the infrastructure in Calgary is fully developed and the Canadian economy is huge and diversified therefore it can manage and sustain market based responses. A more appropriate example would have been that of South Africa who had to develop their coal resources, irrespective of market price fluctuations, to survive as a nation during decades of international sanctions, Pakistan is pretty much in a similar situation and needs to develop its indigenous thermal power resources and save its precious foreign exchange, once we are there than we can worry about the classic economic theories.

    There should be no doubt that the Coal resources of Thar are real and viable, enough studies have been done by international experts to support and substantiate this opinion, and it is in Pakistan’s vital National interest that this resource be developed forthwith and not be allowed to get bogged down by confusion or doubts created by ill-informed and un researched opinions.

    Zahoor A. Abbasi zabbasi@live.com

    (The writer is a USA based professional Geo Technical Engineer, with extensive experience of working in the Thar Desert.)

  3. M.AKRAM KHAN NIAZI

    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.
    • 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.
    Conclusion:
    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,asthama,bronchitis and other respiratory and genetic diseases due to environmental pollution in the people of Punjab,NWFP,Kashmir,Gilgit and Batistan.

    Written By:M.AKRAM KHAN NIAZI.
    Karachi,Pakistan.

  4. M Ali Malik

    Quite interesting facts, but sadly this is typical Pakistani mentality. The fact of life is Pakistan is facing shortage of power and importing our fuel for energy needs are not the solution. Pakistan must have to find a reliable, cost effective, long term and reliable energy supply. We have coal (if the studies are correct) then it should invest, looking for oil from Saudi Arabia or Iran or Kuwait or UAE, will not help.

    facts are facts and pakistan think tank and policy makers, Army, civil service and civil society should think hard to find the solutions, Iran, pak gas, or TAPI pipe lines are geo strategic project have long term international fall outs on pakistan. specially when current or future powers are involved.

    People are suffering and no job, no power, no law and order, no money.. on top of it these illiteracy mulla who can only dig caves for bright nations future.

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