By Dr Ali AKbar Dhakan, Karachi, Sindh
The importance of coal has been tremendously realized in the present times of scant resources of energy throughout our country. The quality of coal found in Sindh is one of the best, and sindh is endowed with enormous potential of coal resources.Unfortunately, the coal has not been fully explored and exploited to meet energy requirements with the result that the Country is facing shortage of energy supplies.When Sindh is endowed with huge good quality lignite coal deposits suitable for electric power generation and other applications.It constitutes around 98% of total coal deposits of the country. Historically, coal has been used as a major source of energy since centuries.The industrial revolution and enhanced use of electricity was also due to coal.
The coal field-wise details are as follows:-
S.no COAL FIELDS BILLION TONS
1. Lakhra, District Dadu 1.640
2. Sonda, District Thatta 7.300
3. Metting-jhimpir, District Thatta 0.161
4. Badin 9.000
5. Thar 200.000
Sindh coal is better in quality as compared to lignite coal being used for power generation in many countries in the world.Its heating value is around 6000 btu/l.b. which exceeds around 8000 btu/l.b on drying of coal, heating value increases to over 10,000 btu/l.b.
The share of coal in power generation globally is 37 % which is the highest as compared to other fuels, viz, renewable 21% nuclear, 17% gas, 16% and oil 9%.The position of coal as primary energy resource is 26% surpassed by oil, which is 40% gas , 24% nuclear, 7% and renewable 3% in the near past.
The share of coal in electric power generation in asia was 26% in 1980, which rose to 45% and projected to go up to 60% in 2020.
Until sixties, coal was the single largest source of primary energy.Large discoveries of oil and gas in sindh resulted in massive switchover from coal to furnace oil and gas.However, once again there is a shift back to use of coal as a major source of energy.
It has been seen that the sindh coal is suitable for electric power generation, cement industry, sugar industry and other applications like steel mills etc.Sindh coal continues around 99% of total coal deposits of the country.
In southern parts of Sindh, Thar coal deposits are the largest in the world, which are sufficient to meet fuel requirements of the country .It is therefore suggested that
the Government of Sindh, must simplify procedures and encourage environment for private investments.In this way the government of Sindh can achieve the objectives of self reliance and also save foreign exchange required for import of fuel.If coal is used in place of oil and gas then cost of production in manufacturing/processing industries will be reduced.
Generation of massive economic activity in the country can also augment and generate direct and indirect employment and business opportunities contain poverty in the country and backward areas of the province of Sindh including Thar desert.
The Government of Sindh as soon as possible start the work of development of coal mines in Thar and coal based projects with the help of private sectors.It is also suggested that the Sindh Government must provide the following facilities to the private sector.
(i) Duty free import of required plant and machinery.
(ii) Establishment of coal processing and distribution companies.
(iii)Incentives must be provided for upgrading infrastructure.
(iv)Allocation of special funds for exploitation of Thar coal.
(v)Establishment of coal based power generation plants.