THARPARKAR, Pakistan, March 23 (Xinhua) -- Pakistani Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif here on Wednesday formally inaugurated the Thar Coal Block-I Coal Electricity Integration project, an energy cooperation project under the framework of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
The plant, which was officially put into commercial operation in early February, has two 660-megawatt high-parameter coal-fired generating units, supported by an annual output of 7.8 million tons of lignite open-pit coal mine. It is capable of meeting the electricity demand of 4 million households in Pakistan.
Addressing the inauguration ceremony, Sharif said that it is a moment of great delight for the whole of Pakistan.
This was a desert region with the sand dunes only, the prime minister said, adding, "Now it has been transformed and industrialized."
It is producing electricity which is being transmitted all across Pakistan, bringing prosperity into the entire country, he said.
"This great project would provide a lot of boost to Pakistan's economy in the years to come," Sharif added.
On the occasion, Pang Chunxue, charge d'affaires of the Chinese embassy in Pakistan, said that Thar Coal Block-I would help Pakistan in reducing fuel imports, saving foreign exchange reserves, optimizing power supply structure and enhancing energy security.
"It has provided more than 18,000 direct employment opportunities for the locals, with a cumulative tax payment of 120 million U.S. dollars and corporate social responsibility expenditure of over 1.3 million dollars," said Pang. Enditem