- Inaugurates commercial operations of Phase-II of Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday called for drafting a policy to shift all coal-based power plants of Pakistan to Thar coal in a bid to supply cheap electricity to the public and save foreign exchange reserves.
During the inauguration of commercial operations of Phase-II of Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) on a visit to Thar Coal Mines Block-II, he lamented the high cost of residential and commercial electricity in Pakistan.
PM Shehbaz said that initially, the government would use both foreign and Thar coal to generate electricity in coal-based power plants of Pakistan and gradually shift entirely towards the use of Thar coal.
“We should draft a dedicated policy for this purpose because this can save $6-7 billion each year,” he said. “This initiative will prove to be a game-changer for Pakistan.”
According to him, this would also help industries to produce low-cost merchandise which would reduce inflation in the country. Besides, Thar coal project is generating thousands of employment opportunities, the PM said.
He highlighted that Pakistan’s energy import bill in fiscal year 2022-23 amounted to $24 billion.
Citing that international oil prices averaged at $90 per barrel in the past few months, he held the view that not utilising indigenous resources for power generation in Pakistan was a disservice to the public.
“Thar possesses 175 billion tons of coal reserves that are sufficient to fulfil electricity needs of next 300 years,” the PM noted. “We can also use coal for gasification as well as convert it to diesel and other fuels.”
He emphasised that every new coal plant in Pakistan should follow the example of Thar coal project.
“The per unit cost of electricity generated using Thar coal is Rs17 per unit and it is expected to fall to Rs10 per unit,” he said.
The PM appreciated all the people who turned Thar coal into a reality. “No one could imagine that the Thar desert could transform into what it is today,” he said. “When the government and private sector works hand-in-hand, it does wonders for the country.”
He further underlined that Thar desert was developing at a rapid pace.