Thar Coal Block-1 Coal Electricity Integration project highlights corporate social responsibility and has provided more than 18,000 direct employment opportunities for the locals.
THARPARKAR, Pakistan, April 2 (Xinhua) -- Mazhar Ali Khan, a 27-year-old mechanical engineer, works as an associate shift lead in a central control room at Thar Coal Block-I Coal Electricity Integration project, an energy cooperation project under the framework of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
At the plant located in the warm desert region in the southeastern part of Pakistan's southern Sindh province, Khan reports to a Chinese shift lead who gives him the commands which he further distributes to other Pakistani and Chinese engineers.
The young engineer from the under-developed Hyderabad city of Sindh, who had received Employee of the CPEC project and Best Model Employee of the Year awards in 2022, said the technology being used in this coal plant is very advanced and suitable for utilization of indigenous coal.
"The Chinese staffs are always supportive and guide us because they have already operated such plants in different overseas projects," he said.
The plant 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. This high-parameter and large-capacity generation technology is being used for the first time in the country.
Thar Coal Block-I Coal Electricity Integration project has recently been inaugurated formally by Pakistani Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif after it was officially put into commercial operation in early February. It has the capacity to fulfill the electricity demand of 4 million households in Pakistan.
Talking to Xinhua, Meng Donghai, CEO of the project, said that based on local coal from Thar, Pakistan is generating cost-effective electricity.
This would help the country in reducing its fuel imports, saving foreign exchange reserves, and enhancing national energy security, he added.
Thar Coal Block-1 Power Generation Company Private Limited and Sino Sindh Resources Private Limited, as subsidiaries of Shanghai Electric, are managing the entire project and will keep the task for the next 30 years.
"We want to build this enterprise into an outstanding energy enterprise in Pakistan and we hope to become a benchmark in this industry in terms of production safety, leading technical indicators and corporate social responsibility (CSR)," said Meng.
Like other CPEC projects, Thar Coal Block-1 highlights CSR and has been involved in extensive CSR projects aimed at changing the lives of locals in Thar, eliminating poverty, improving medical facilities, educating the locals and creating job opportunities. The project has provided more than 18,000 direct employment opportunities for the locals.
Li Jigen, CEO of the coal mine project of Thar Coal Block-1, told Xinhua that from the beginning of the construction in 2019 to the end of 2022, the project had invested about 1.3 million U.S. dollars in fulfilling its CSR.
The future course of CSR includes the Green Thar project focusing on tree plantation, increasing employment, and skills development, as well as contributing to the South Asian country in case of floods and other disasters during the 30-year operation, Li added.
Khan said that an electrostatic precipitator had been installed in the plant which traps potentially hazardous fly ash.
Additionally, an absorption tower has also been set up to reduce sulfur oxides emissions in order to safeguard the environment, he said.