Karachi, March 14: Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) and Government of Sindh broke ground today to mark the beginning of coal extraction project at Thar Coal block II. The Chief Minister of Sindh Qaim Ali Shah attended the groundbreaking ceremony, along with the other government officials and Senior Management of Engro Corporation.

Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company is a joint venture between Engro Corporation and Government of Sindh. SECMC has completed the feasibility study on Thar Coal project, confirming the technical, commercial and environmental viability of the project. All the required government approvals have been obtained and the Economic Co-ordination Committee (ECC) has approved $700 million sovereign guarantee for the project. The mining project, which will cost US$ 1.3 billion, is likely to start later this year and is expected to take less than four years for completion.

The Thar Block 2, which is only 1% of the entire Thar Coal reserves, can produce 5000 megawatts for the next 50 years, thereby resulting in total foreign exchange savings of more than USD 50 billion for the life of the project. The development of the Thar Coal project will result in immense socioeconomic benefits for the region, and substantially increase the per capita income of people living in the Thar region.

Feasibility estimates that ultimately in excess of 10,000 skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled workers will be employed in mining, power and associated industries.

Speaking the occasion, Ali Ansari – President and CEO Engro Corporation said, “For over four decades Engro has been a part of Pakistan’s economic landscape sharing the various challenges and triumphs that the country has offered. As a good corporate citizen, our investments in Thar Coal project today are a preliminary step towards building the capacity, which will foster a more developed and energy-efficient Pakistan. Investments in Thar Coal are not only the need of the hour but also make sound economic sense.”

On the occasion, Shamsuddin A. Shaikh – CEO Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company said, “Thar has an enormous energy potential. SECMC’s Thar Block-2 can produce 4000 MW for next 50 years. Total foreign exchange savings for 4000 MW of Thar coal based power plants are estimated at more than USD 50 bn for life of the project.

The strategic investment and development of the Thar Coal Block II will not only help alleviate the chronic energy crisis of the country but also usher in a new era of prosperity for the people of Sindh and ultimately the people of Pakistan. The project will yield 4,000 new direct and indirect job opportunities for the local community.

SECMC applauds the support and efforts of Sindh Government and reiterates its firm commitment to fulfill all its obligations in a timely manner, which will bring energy security to Pakistan and accelerate the industrial development in the country.