Pakistan’s Thar Block-1 coal mine & power project begins commercial operation

The Thar Block-1 integrated coal mine and power project of China’s Shanghai Electric in Pakistan officially entered commercial operation on February 5, 2023, after both units passed the Reliability Run Test successfully after 168 hours’ full-load operation. The project will provide about 9 billion kilowatt-hours of clean electricity to the local grid every year, meeting the power demands of nearly 4 million households.

“The project represents Shanghai bElectric’s first Build- Own-Operate (BOO) project, developed, constructed and operated with a total investment of nearly US$3 billion. Since construction began in March 2019, we are delighted to have effectively addressed the local power shortage issue with our technology and complete solutions. Through our partnership with local stakeholders and utilising local fuel, we are making significant contributions to lower energy prices, improve energy structure, alleviate the energy importing crisis, and strengthen national energy security,” said Donghai Meng, Director CEO of Thar Coal Block-I Power Generation.

The project, with a total capacity of 1,320 MW, is supported by an open-pit coal mine that produces 7.8 Mt of lignite (brown coal) annually. The mine is operated by Shanghai Electric subsidiary Sino Sindh Resources and has a large mining fleet comprised of 55 t MT86D Chinese wide body trucks from LGMG which are loaded by 28 Liebherr R 9100B hydraulic mining excavators.

The power generation part of the project includes equipment with advanced technology, such as high-parameter steam turbines, generators, tower type boilers, high-pressure heaters, low-pressure heaters, condensers, de-aerators, 108 supporting motors, blowers, induced draft fans, cooling fume fans, and low-temperature economisers, all provided by Shanghai Electric. The statement said: “It will serve as a benchmark for the utilisation of Thar energy in the future because of its tailor-designed technology that fits Pakistan’s local fossil fuel needs.”

The Thar project not only represents a significant milestone for Shanghai Electric but also contributes to the social and economic development of the local community. In addition to providing over 15,000 jobs during the construction and paying more than $120 million in taxes, the project has provided vocational training to local employees and donated funds to establish a Chinese language school for international cultural exchanges. “This commitment to improving the lives of local people, protecting the environment, and promoting economic development has brought new vitality into the Thar region, demonstrating Shanghai Electric’s dedication to building projects that empower communities.”

The company adds: “The project is a testament to Shanghai Electric’s commitment to collaborating with local stakeholders to create long-term, sustainable solutions, and involved multiple rounds of discussion and consultation with local government, village headmen, and resident representatives to ensure a stable power supply throughout the open pit mine’s life cycle. Aiming to promote ecological construction through the adoption of a sprinkler irrigation system to enhance the ecological construction of the open pit mine, the project also assisted the local government in resettling indigenous people in the mining area, improving their living conditions and access to clean water and electricity. By prioritising local collaboration and sustainable development, Shanghai Electric has set a new standard for responsible energy solutions.”