Thar: The Sindh government approved the third phase of the Thar coal mine expansion project on Friday, which will cost an estimated Rs15.8 billion and will allow the mine to excavate an additional 12.2 million tonnes of coal per year, saving $420 million in foreign exchange each year by reducing coal imports.

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For the past two years, Energy Minister Imtiaz Shaikh updated the chief minister on the successful completion of Phase-I of the SECM project, which produced 3.8 million tonnes of coal per year and 660 megawatts of energy.

He mentioned that 2,640MW of power plants were being built, and that an increase in mine production of 11.8 million tonnes per year was expected.

The chief minister stated that the Thar coal would be used “outside the power industry” by his government. The chief minister was told that LNG was being purchased at $35 per MMBTU, imported coal was being purchased at $9.7 MMBTU, residual fuel oil or RFO was being purchased at $12.4/MMBTU, and Thar coal was being purchased at $5.95 MMBTU.

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The chief minister responded by stating that the numbers revealed Thar coal to be the most cost-effective source of electricity production. Sheikh claimed the first phase would cost $627 million, the second phase would cost $216 million, and the third phase would cost $93 million.

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