The government did not find out any suitable coal fields in three proposed coal-sourcing countries for meeting the coal demand for 22 proposed public, private and joint-venture power plants having the capacity to generate 20,057MW of electricity.
During her visit to the ministry of power, energy and mineral resources in April 2015, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina instructed to the ministry to search for coal fields in Indonesia, Australia and South Africa for lease.
Several teams from the Power Division and the Energy and Mineral Resources Division have already visited these countries several times in search of suitable coal fields.
The 1320MW Rampal coal-fired power plant alone would need 4.7 million tonnes per year. It means the government and private sector would require procuring around 71 million tonnes of coal annually for generating around 20,057MW of electricity from 22 coal-fired plants.
Talking about the issue, energy and mineral resources division secretary Nazimuddin Chowdhury told daily sun, “It’s impossible to lease coal mines from Australia, South Africa and Indonesia due to different and complex laws in those host countries. Besides, the quality of the coal is also a matter of concern.”
He also said the Power Division would take responsibility to import their own coal.
Power Cell Director General Mohammed Hossain said, “We didn’t make any visible progress in coal import or leasing of coal mines from Indonesia, South Africa and Australia. But I think it’s a high time for working on this issue in a coordinated way”
Energy experts said the proposed coal-fired plants might face trouble if the government fails to source coal in time.
Barapukuria coalmine is the country’s lone coalfield with the production capacity of one million tonne a year. Barapukuria uses underground mining method to extract coal. The coalfield has a daily coal production capacity around 5,000 tonnes.
The Barapukuria Coal Mining Company Limited (BCMCL) supplies average 2,000 tonnes of coal per day to a 250MW coal-fired plant in Barapukuria.
Construction of another 275MW coal-fired plant is underway in Barapukuria. The government has also directed the authorities concerned to install another coal-fired plant in Gaibandha which will also use coal from Barapukuria.
Besides, Barapukuria Coal Mine Company Limited (BCMCL) has initiated a feasibility study for the extension of existing underground mining operation of Barapukuria coal towards the southern and northern side of the mining basin without interruption of the present production.
The company is likely to sign a deal with USA firm John T Boyd Company Mining and Geological Consultants Pittsburgh last of the month.