Thar coal – hope or despair [3 of 3]

On completion, Thar coal energy projects will yield cheap and uninterrupted power supply to many industries particularly the cement, fertilizer and chemical industries. Substantial foreign exchange savings shall accrue, as locally available coal will replace imported oil in industrial usage which would further result in massive foreign exchange reserves, strengthening Pak Rupee. The envisaged projects [some already started and some still in the pipeline] would accelerate economic activity creating thousands of jobs opportunities. And above all it will be a strategic energy resource that would guarantee energy security to Pakistan in decades to come.



by Hafeez R.M.



There would be immence benefits from the project.  These can be categories into financial, economic and social as given below:


  • Massive investments in profitable ventures would result in fat dividends to the investors.
  • Banks and other financial institutions would be able to employ their funds in a secure business.
  • Machinery suppliers would get fair prices for sale of their machinery.
  • There would be thousand jobs in the mining and power plants being install throughout the area.


  • Cheap and uninterrupted power supply would benefit many industries particularly cement, fertilizer and chemical industries.
  • It would result in substantial foreign exchange savings as locally available coal will replace imported oil in industrial usage.
  • It would result in massive foreign exchange reserves and strengthening of Pak Rupee.
  • It would accelerate economic activity thus create job opportunities.
  • Congestion caused at the port in handling of imported oil and impact of transportation of oil from port to cities and industrial units would reduce.
  • There would be substantial transfer to technology in the mining and power generating sectors.
  • It would provide opportunities for future downstream industries in petro-chemical.
  • Strategic energy resource that will guarantee energy security to Pakistan in the decades to come
  • It would a source of national pride
  • It will be a step forward in poverty alleviation and would result in improvement in quality of life in Sindh in general and people living around the plant in particular.
  • It would provide job opportunities to people of the area at their door-steps and thus contain shift of population from rural to urban sector.




If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, looks like a duck, it must be a duck”. Let us imagine un-interrupted power supply for use in industrial plants and transport system like cars, buses and train. Let us further assume that our people are prosperous, economy flourishing and exports dominating. If so, all the benefits cited above can be realized in our life time. There is certainly a light at the end of the tunnel.

At the same time, we must not forget that:

  • The project would require a sizable quantity of water which is difficult to supply from the existing river system. In fact, there is already a chronic shortage of water in Sindh.
  • UCG Process is yet on experimental stage and has nowhere been tried on a mass scale.
  • The project would require huge capital investments which are hard to come by given the creditability of the present regime.
  • Coal is called a “dirty fuel”, it is losing its appeal as a cheaper energy source because of its major contribution to global warming.
  • We have lignite coal which is very high in moisture and so not going to be a globally traded commodity.
  • The coal-based power plant consumes and discharge enormous quantity of waste water which is damaging to landscapes, water supplies, and ecosystems”.
  • “Coal in a Changing Climate” shows that coal produces large amounts of airborne toxic chemicals, including sulfur dioxide, mercury, nitrous oxides, arsenic and lead.
  • The project had a checkered history. There had been “a series of unlikely coincidences and a comedy of errors” which does not auger well for the project.

BUT let us hope that we shall overcome all obstacles and move towards the path of prosperity.


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2 replies to “Thar coal – hope or despair [3 of 3]

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