Pakistan Peoples Party Official

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Bilawal Bhutto hopes Thar Coal Project to ignite economic change in Thar & whole country

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KARACHI, October 19: Bilawal Bhutto Zardari Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party has said that Thar Coal Project was dream of his mother Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and he was hopeful that Thar Coal & Power Project being piloted by Sindh Engro Coal-Mining Company (SECMC) will be functional by 2018. “This project needs to bring great economic changes in the lives of people of Thar besides plugging the energy crisis prevalent across the country.”

PPP Chairman made these remarks at a brief about the Project given by Shamsuddin Ahmed Shaikh, Chief Executive Officer of SECMC at Bilawal House today. Others who were present at the meeting include Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Ministers Murad Ali Shah, Jam Khan Shoro, Senator Taj Haider and Jameel Soomro.

SECMC is own 51% by Government of Sindh and 49% by Engro Powergen Limited and its partners. Sindh government has already granted Sovereign Guarantee, which is waiting for endorsement of Federal Financial Ministry, besides the approval of State Bank of Pakistan and National Bank of Pakistan. SECMC is expected its financial close by next month.

With Investment of US $ 2 billion , Thar Coal and Power Project is Pakistan’s biggest project in terms of investment being taken by the private sector. This project is listed among the “Prioritised Projects” under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) based on readiness-expected to be completed by 2018.

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari was informed that Mining Project will be set-up an initial open cast mine of 3.8Mt/a in 38 months at the cost of US $ 845 million while two units of 330mw each will be installed as sub-critical mine mouth power plants on Thar lignite coal costing US $ 1.1 billion.

Shaikh briefed that required studies, agreements & contracts, regulatory requirements, equity financing updates, debt financing update and detailed engineering have already be completed and financial close of the project is expected in the last quarter of current year. Mining work is in progress at the site Block-II in Thar and so far 3.3 million cubic meters of Overburden has been removed digging 10 meters deep mine.

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari stressed that interests of the local people of Thar may be given top priorities as he wants to see the benefits to lives of Thar people together with the completion of the project. He said that Thar Coal project should provide jobs to the locals and the dislocated communities may be rehabilitated all the civic amenities.

PPP Chairman was further briefed that Sindh government has already approved Resettlement Plan and resettlement of first village will be completed by the end of 2017, which will be a model for all Thar and Pakistan with health and education facilities managed by the company.

The officials also brief the Chairman about the idea to introduce Bio Saline Agriculture to provide round-the-year fodder to livestock, and solar-chillers for collection of milk from dozens of centers in Thar.

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