The proposed open-pit mining at Barapukuria coal mine in Dinajpur depends on lifting of 344 million cubic metres of water and its successful management.
This was disclosed at a workshop on water modeling at Barapukuria coal mine held in Dhaka on Thursday.
Petrobangla Chairman Prof Hossain Monsur, former Petrobangla chairman Mosharaf Hossain, Petrobangla Director (Operation) M Quamruzzman, Geological Survey of Bangladesh (GSB) representative, IWM representative and concerned senior officials attended the meeting.
The Institute of Water Modelling (IWM) is now conducting water modeling on an area of 60 square kilometres at Barapukuria coalmine site to determine the flow of underground water (aquifer) for extracting coal under open-pit mining method, aiming at boosting coal production.
During the workshop, the IWM said it would need another three months time to submit the feasibility study report to determine the flow of aquifer.
Former Petrobangla chairman Mosharaf Hossain said: “I am very happy to follow the method on determining the flow of aquifer at Barapukuria coal mine site.”
It would require a survey to finalise the decision on open-pit mining at a part of Barapukuria and Phulbari, he said. The study result on dewatering the mine and its impact on surrounding areas would determine whether it would be possible to go for open-pit mining at the coalmine, he said.
The Barapukuria underground coalmine would also get support from the results of water modeling study as coal extraction is suspended due to outflow of water from the coalmine site, he opined.
The government has no other alternative to develop the country’s coal mines for power generation as the gas resources are exhausted and the imported coal and LNG are too much costly, he said.
An official of Petrobangla at the workshop said Petrobangla is hopeful to develop Barapukuria coal field on open-pit mining method.
He said it would require sophisticated technologies to properly manage the situation in extracting coal through open-pit mining method at Barapukuria.
If the Petrobangla gets positive results from water modeling study, then Barapukuria Coal Mine Company Limited (BCMCL) would carry out open-pit mining at Barapukuria, sources said.
BCMCL found that the coal reserve on northern side of Barapukuria is 135 million tonnes. The government also plans to extend the open-pit mining on 627 acres of land at Barapukuria. The government has a plan to generate about 20,000MW of electricity by 2030, 53 percent of which would be generated at coal-fired power plants.
The government also has another plan to extract about six million tonnes of coal under open-pit mining method, the official said.
It has already decided not to develop new coal field before completing hydrogeological study and underground water modeling at Barapukuria coal field. The state-owned IWM is currently conducting the survey.