BCMCL eyes open pit, massive extraction of coal

Manjurul Ahsan New Age May 6, 2012

Barapukuria Coal Mining Company Limited would send its proposal to Petrobangla later this week for the extraction of coal from five deposits under public-private partnerships or joint venture arrangements with local or foreign companies.

BCMCL managing director Mohammad Quamruzzaman told New Age that he approved a detailed proposal prepared by the company to develop four other discovered coal deposits including the controversial deposit at Phulbari in Dinajpur to feed coal fired power plants to meet the growing demand for electricity, coal fired power generation.

According to the proposal, BCMCL plans to extract 26 million tonnes of coal a year from the five coal deposits at Barapukuria, Phulbari, Khalashpir, Pirganj and Dighipara by 2030, officials said.

A subsidiary of state-run Petrobangla, BCMCL wants to start a pilot project for open pit coal extraction from the northern side of the Barapukuria deposit as suggested by the latest national committee on coal policy, Quamurzzaman said.

The pilot project would help decide the method of coal extraction from the deposits, he said.

He said that 26 milli8on tonnes of coal would be needed each year to generate 12,000MW of electricity by 2030 using domestic coal as planned by the government.

‘Now we are extracting only one million tonnes of coal a year,’ he said.

He said BCMCL, with its 15 years’ experience on the job, was confident that it would be able to extract the coal for the generation of electricity as planned.

Of the five coal deposits, Jamajganj has 1,053 million tonnes, Barapukuria — 377 million tonnes, Khalaspir — 828 million tonnes, Phulbari — 470 million tonnes and Dighipara –about 500 million tonnes.

BCMCL is now extracting coal from Barapukuria using underground mining method.

The state-run coal mining company employed a consortium of two Chinese firms, China National Machinery Import and Export Corporation and Xuzhou Coal Mining Group Company Limited, for coal extraction from the Barapukuria colliery.

Planned coal extraction by Asia Energy Corporation Private Limited, a UK based new mining company using open-pit method from Phulbari during the last BNP led government was postponed in the face of a movement in which three lives were lost and hundreds of others injured.

Asia Energy later renamed itself Global Coal Management or GCM.

Besides the BCMCL proposal, Bangladesh Coal-based Power Generation Company Limited, a subsidiary of Bangladesh Power Development Board also wants the management and ownership of Barapukuria and Phulbari coal deposits to have its grip on the supply of coal to the public sector power plants.
Quamruzzaman said that BCMCL could make BCPGCL a partner in managing the five coal deposits if the government approved the idea.