AsiaPak Investments has announced an investment of $50 million to convert the 600MW Jamshoro imported coal power plant to Thar coal as part of its efforts to reduce reliance on imported fossil fuels.
'We have approached the government for our plan of investment and waiting for the nod of authorities,' AsiaPak Investment Head Shahriar Chishti said on Monday.
He was talking to the media about the utilisation of Thar coal in the plant, which was financed through Asian Development Bank at the cost of $545 million, and is still to start its commercial operations.
Head of AsiaPak Investments, which claims to have acquired 54 percent shares in K-Electric (KE), hoped that the government would soon give its approval for the investment.
'Plant is expected to begin its commercial operations (CoD) from indigenous Thar coal by September next year, if the government approves our investment plan immediately,' he said, while expressing his hope that the plant would generate around 5 billion units per year, and bolster provision of electricity in Karachi - the commercial hub and revenue engine of Pakistan.
Chishti said that KE is also interested in development of 660MW unit-II of the Jamshoro supercritical imported coal-based power plant.
He said both units of the project were designed to be operated as a combined facility; many common facilities were included in the project design, hence the cost of unit-II would be far less than that of unit-1.
He said AsiaPak which is also one of the shareholders in Thar Block-1, and KE have offered financing for the conversion of the project. The modification project will incur a cost of $50 million which is not more than 10 percent of the project's total cost, he said.
The daily coal demand of the plant is around 8,000 tonnes, or some 250 trucks per day from Thar Coal Block-1. Thar coal mines have huge capacity to supply the needed fossil fuel.
He said that a 100km rail link will also be developed from Thar Mine site to Chhor, while the rail track from Chhor to Jamshoro plant is already intact. 'Chhor to mine site rail link is very important,' he added.
Sindh government has already informed the federation that it will finance this project. Perhaps, some Middle Eastern investors have also expressed their desire to finance the track, he said.
'It would be unfortunate if we continued to operate this plant on imported coal for the next 30 years, despite having enormous local coal reserves,' Chishti added.