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Thar coal based 330MW power generation project under the banner of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) programme Thursday achieved financial close.

Financial closing documents for the 330MW mine mouth lignite coal power project at Thar Block-II were signed by Shah Jahan Mirza, Managing Director PPIB, and Saleemullah Memon, Chief Executive Officer of M/s Thal Limited, while senior officials of PPIB and the company witnessed the signing ceremony.

The project is being sponsored by M/s Thal Limited, M/s Novatex Limited and M/s Descon Engineering Limited under the banner of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) programme. Total cost of the project is US$497 million while China Development Bank (CDB) is the lead arranger for the foreign financing from China and Habib Bank Limited is the lead arranger for the local financing.

The plant will be fuelled by coal extracted from Thar Block II by the Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company and it will utilize 1.9 million tons of coal to generate 2236 GWh per annum. The sponsors have already started construction activities ahead of financial closing and are very keen to complete this project by March 2021, said a spokesman of PPIB. After start of commercial operation of this project, billions of rupees would be saved per year on account of foreign exchange and this saving will further escalate when all Thar coal based projects of 5,000 MW would be operational thus drastically reducing the tariff due to use of indigenous coal, the sponsor claimed.

The plant will be connected with the Matiari-Lahore Transmission Line for transmission of electricity. Being developed on state of the art coal technology, the project complies with all international as well as federal and provincial environmental standards. The development of this project will also contribute in socio-economic uplift of backward Tharparkar area which is now emerging as the energy capital of Pakistan.

PPIB in addition to Thar coal based power generation is also handling 14 hydropower projects (HPPs) of 6,175 MW in the private sector. These HPPs are at different stages of implementation. By 2022, PPIB is targeting to fetch another 5,500 MW through completion of ten projects majority of which are based on Thar coal and hydro. PPIB is also implementing Pakistan’s first private sector +660 kV Matiari-Lahore Transmission Line Project which is also the first HVDC project aiming to transmit electricity from coal projects in the southern zone to the load centers. This project is also under construction and targeted to be completed by March 2021.