State Minister for Power, Energy& Mineral resources Mr. NasrulHamid has said, open pit coal mining is only possible at Phulbari Coal reserve. He was responding to a series of questions on power & energy at the national parliament on Tuesday. Referring local coal extraction posed byMember of Parliament (MP) of Constituency Dinajpur-6Mr. Shibli Sadiq the state minister stated in his response that, coal reserve in Dighipara mine can be extracted through underground mining.
Earlier honorable SpeakerShirin Sharmin Chaudhury asked Mr. Sibli Sadiqfor raising his supplementary question in question-and-answer session in the National Parliament.
Raising the question Mr. Sibli Sadiq MP said, While we are struggling to run many of our power plants due to fuel crisis, the Dighipara coal field that has been discovered in my constituency could have been a blessing for the country. I do not know, why there is no progress in developing this coal field despite having completion of feasibility study. We have seen comments from many countries on climate change issue and proposing ban on burning fossil fuel, but they have been burning coal for long, way back 200 years, and enjoying a higher living standard. But why we are unable to utilize this resource? My submission to honorable minister, please let us know why the development activities of this mine is not started?
In his tresponse, State Minister for Energy, Power & Mineral resources has said, want to make response giving some information on this. There are 5 discovered coal fields in Bangladesh: Barapukuria, Phulbari, Dighipara, Khalaspir and Jamalganj. We can extract coal from Phulbari by open pit mining method. About 90% coal can be extracted removing overburden materials. Currently we are mining coal from Barapukuria at a daily rate of 1500-2000 tonnes through underground method. Many people ask me about coal mining, so I want to give this information. Honorable Speaker, I want to let all honorable MPs know through you that Dighipara is close to Barapukuria mine. We have already completed the feasibility study and found that, underground mining is feasible there. The coal to be mined from 300 meters below the surface and only 15-20% can be extracted. What I have said, open pit mining is only feasible in Phulbari. Other deposits are to be extracted by underground method. Jamalganj has huge reserve but coal cannot be extracted by underground method even. Because the coal situated in much deeper depth.
Nasrul said, we tried, how easy way can extract coal, but coal mining in Barapukuria has created a big lake. Underground mining leads to subsidence on the ground and thus damages agricultural land. Honorable PM Sheikh Hasina has said to us, if there is any mining technology comes in future, which will not damage lands of the farmers, then coal can be extracted taking environment into consideration. Our farmers’ land, crops, future food security is the first priority. If there is any alternative, any advanced system and management of that, then coal can be extracted. This is the reason why we are not extracting coal from this mine (Dighipara). We are now slowly extracting coal from the existing Barapukuria mine. Farmers have been growing crops for hundreds of years on their lands, and would continue doing this for the next 30/40 or 50 or 100 years. As food security is our first priority, if we can make a better arrangement for farmers and their land in future, then will extract coal from our coal mines.
Asia Energy Corporation, an Australia British owned multinational company has has done detail feasibility study and environmental and social impact assessment on Phulbari under a contract. The Study found the scientific solutions toenvironment, agriculture, water, bio diversity and rehabilitation issues and now waiting review and final node. #