KARACHI (March 16 2009): The Thar Coal Power Project (TCPP) would attract over $20 billion foreign investment within next six months, an official of Sindh Coal Authority Board (SCAB) told Business Recorder on Sunday. According to Sharjeel Memon, one of the SCABs governors, a host of interested companies from United States, China, Britain, Singapore, South Korea, Germany, Poland, Australia etc would invest over $20 billion in the Tharparkar-based energy project.
Memon, who is also the member of provincial assembly of Sindh, revealed that even the neighbouring India had shown interest in the attractive coal-based power generation project, TCPP. He, however, opined that tension at border and an ongoing blame-game between the two nuclear-armed South Asian neighbours were likely to keep New Delhi away from the project. The SCAB official also linked the expected investment with an early end to the ongoing political turmoil in the country.
"Lots of MoUs have been signed and a host of foreign firms keen to invest in the coal sector are visiting the Chief Minister on almost daily basis... work is underway on war footing basis," he added. Also, he said, President Asif Ali Zardari, during his recent visit to China, had inked different MoUs with the investors in Beijing.
He said a nine-member Korean delegation, which had held a "fruitful" meeting with Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah last Thursday, would soon start boring for mining in Blocks 4 and 8 of the site.
The coal exploration work would follow the power generation process that, the MPA said, was a federal subject and would be carried out by Islamabad.
According to Memon the TCPP would help Sindh province generate at least 7000-8000 MW electricity by 2012, which would not only cater to the countrys 3,500MW power shortage, but would also be exported to the neighbouring countries. He said the provincial government had undertaken a fast track infrastructure development in Thar, along with a coal based mine-mouth thermal power plant by a Korean firm at an estimate cost of $3 billion. According to Asad Ali Shah, another SCAB member, a coal-based power generation plant in Thar would help Pakistan save a huge sum of $8 billion it was presently paying for imports of oil to run its power generation units. A recent study has revealed that Tharparkar has 175 billion tons of coal reserves with a best power generation quality, he added.