Chinese contractor CMC initiated extracting coal again from the country’s lone operational underground coal-mine at Barapukuria in Dinajpur after securing the job – renewed again for another six years with a 4.93 per cent hike in the contract price.
The contractor initiated extracting coal from October 16 – almost three months after shutting mining operations, BCMCL managing director (MD) Md Kamruzzaman Khan told the FE on Sunday.
The CMC would continue extracting coal under previous terms until November 16.
The Cabinet Committee on Government Purchase already approved awarding the coalmining job to the CMC, he said.
The state-owned Barapukuria Coal Mining Company Ltd (BCMCL) would ink a new deal with the CMC within the next month.
The CMC would get US$85 per tonne for extracting coal from the Barapukuria coalmine under the new deal, noted Mr Khan.
The Chinese contractor would have to extract around 4.50 million tonnes of coal from the mine within the next six years.
The company had to extract around 3.2 million tonnes of coal from the mine within four years under its deal with the BCMCL that expired on August 10, 2021.
“We have extended the contract period under current terms until November 16,” said the BCMCL MD.
The Barapukuria coal-fired power plant is the main buyer of coal, being produced from the Barapukuria coal-mine.
Electricity generation from the Barapukuria power plant, however, came down to around 80 megawatts (MW) only, which is less than one-sixth of the overall generation capacity of 525 MW of the plant.
The BCMCL is, however, confident of continuing coal supply to the mine-mouth power plant with its coal storage.
“We have coal stocks to run the power plant until January,” said the BCMCL MD.
The power plant currently consumes around 1,000 tonnes of coal every day.
During the peak demand, the coal-fired power plant takes around 2,500 tonnes of coal a day for electricity generation, and during winter it takes around 1,200-1,300 tonnes of coal a day, noted Mr Khan.
Coal production from the mine had remained shut since July 25, 2021, as many Chinese, as well as local employees, were unwilling to continue work there in fear of spreading deadly coronavirus.
The BCMCL would ink a fresh six-year coal-mine development and production agreement deal with the current Chinese contractor under the Speedy Supply of Power and Energy (Special Provision) Act 2010, said sources.
The law has a provision of providing immunity to those involved with quick-fix solutions.
Regular and increased volume of coal extraction from the Barapukuria coal-mine would be possible after inking the deal, Mr Khan expected.
Sources said coal extraction from the mine started in late 2005 under a contract between the BCMCL and the CMC.
The CMC has been the lone contractor of the mine to develop and extract coal. It has already completed three terms of its job to date.
During the first contract period from 2005 to 2011, the average annual production was around 600,000 tonnes; during the second contract period from 2011 to 2017, it was around 900,000 tonnes; and during the third contract period from 2017 to 2021, it was around 850,000 tonnes.
Around 5,000 tonnes of coal will be required every day, if the Barapukuria power plant runs at its full capacity.
The Barapukuria coal-mine produces high quality bituminous coal with very negligible sulfur quantity. The heating value of the coal is around 11,040 British thermal units (Btu) per pound, said sources.