India is keen to develop Bangladesh’s coal fields in the Northern part of the country and procure it for its own purpose.
Indian State Mminister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan has showed the interest of his country to the Bangladesh’s State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources during a bi-lateral meeting held in New Delhi on October 5.
In 2001-04, Indian business tycoon Tata has proposed to Bangladesh to procure its coal for their steel mills.
“Calorific value of Barapukuria coal is of high standard and that is why they want to procure our coal,” State Minister for Energy and Power Nasrul Hamid said after a bilateral meeting with Indian State Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan in Delhi last week.
According to several officials, the India has given importance to developing the country’s northern part coalmines.
During the bilateral meeting with Indian counterpart, Nasrul Hamid said Bangladesh would consider the proposal.
Hamid said the government is considering developing underground coalmining to meet country’s requirement of coal. “We prefer underground mining taking into account aquifer inside the coalmine area,” he said. He, however, dismissed media reports about using low quality Indian coal for electricity production at 1320MW Rampal Power Project.
“They (India) have shortfall of coal to meet local requirement,” he said.
Recently, AKM Shamsuddin, an independent consultant, and also a former official of state-owned Petrobangla, informed the Energy Ministry that there is a high risk for open-pit mining given the potential vulnerability of the vast arable lands in the North Bengal that produces a large portion of the country’s food grains.
The government has a plan to produce at least 8,000 megawatts of electricity from local coal by the year 2030. 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 of 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 also 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.