Thar Block-1 : An energy oasis in the desert

By Mariam Raheem | Gwadar Pro Mar 1, 2023

LAHORE, Feb. 28, (Gwadar Pro) – Inside the Thar Block-1 Integrated Coal Mine Power Project, an open-pit coal mine with an annual lignite output of 7.8 million tons and a total capacity of 1,320 megawatts, is providing the most cost-effective energy to millions of Pakistani households.

Gul Hassan, a mining engineer with Sino Sindh Resources (Pvt.) Ltd. (SSRL), is carrying out routine safety checks. He proudly told Gwadar Pro in an interview after being named an outstanding staff member of CPEC projects by the Chinese embassy, "The Thar Block-1 project has been instrumental in transforming the lives of people in Thar." "The opportunity to be a part of this desert energy oasis means a lot to me."

Thar Block-1 : An energy oasis in the desert

Gul Hassan at work

 While strictly implementing safety control measures for mining, stripping, dumping, and traffic in open pit coal mines himself, Gul Hassan also translated Chinese mine management materials such as "Coal Mine Safety Regulations" into English and Urdu and organized training for 5,000 Pakistani employees cumulatively, by specialty and by post.

Gul said the project management team has taken multiple measures to ensure safety, energy conservation, and emission reduction to maintain ecological balance. It normally carries out "safe production month" activities, organizes hidden danger screening, regulations, and competitions, and popularizes awareness of safety and environmental responsibility. Meanwhile, a clean and beautiful Thar is being built through afforestation and environmental protection techniques.

Thar is a relatively underdeveloped area. Thar Block-1 Integrated Coal Mine Power Project has provided more than 18,000 direct employment opportunities for the locals, and Mazhar Ali Khan is one of those who, like Gul Hassan, has inspired the other staff and demonstrated the Thar spirit. As a bridge between the National Power Control Center (NPCC) and the operation team, Mazhar Ali Khan’s work has greatly contributed to the grid connection of the power station.

Thar Block-1 : An energy oasis in the desert

Mazhar Ali Khan at work

When he joined Thar Coal Block-1 Power Generation (Pvt.) Ltd. in 2021 (TCB-1), Mazhar Ali worked assiduously on the initial energization of the project and also independently corresponded with the NPCC on the back-feeding and energization work.

Starting with the coal mills from DCS, he went on to witness their proper functioning at a local site after conducting a two-hour trial test. Despite being assigned with another difficult task to participate in "GCB" commissioning, Mazhar Ali Khan refused to give up and quoted, "Never give up; there is a light after dark."

Playing a vital role in performing all the commissioning tests on the GCB, particularly the "electrical resistance test," Mazhar Ali Khan went inside the GCB's confined chamber and stayed there for almost 5 hours.

On the 4th of this month, the power station project completed a 168-hour reliability operation test and officially achieved commercial operation on February 5. Reflecting on the moment, Mazhar Ali could not hide his excitement. "Since the start of construction, the project has actively contributed to the local construction of Thar, and its development is changing with each passing day," he added. "I believe that the Thar Project will bring more vitality to the local social and economic development after its commercial operation date."

As stated by Pakistan's Federal Minister during his visit to the Thar Block-1 Integrated Coal Mine Power Project in August 2022, the mega project on lignite coal proves to be a game changer, which is also why Pakistani staff are so proud to be associated with this project. This energy oasis in the desert has brought power, light, hope, and a better life to Pakistan.

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