Coal discovery


T he discovery of a huge coal reserve is good news for Pakistan as well as Sindh province where the massive deposit amounting to three billion tonnes has been found. The discovery is highly encouraging for the country long suffering from electricity shortage. The Sindh chief minister has rightly observed that the newly-struck energy resource will bring about significant economic progress in the country, especially in the Thar region, where the discovery has been made. He recalled the prophecy that energy resources and other minerals hidden under the earth in Thar would change the fortunes of Pakistan, and said that it had come true.

The find will benefit the country in countless ways. The fact that three billion tonnes of coal are equivalent to five billion tonnes of crude oil means that the availability of coal from domestic resources would considerably cut the country’s dependence on imported oil. This would save Pakistan its valuable foreign exchange and create many new employment opportunities in mining, power and transportation sectors. Also, the country produces 64% of its electricity from fossil fuels, so the latest discovery of coal would hopefully help generate a significant amount of power, one of the most important drivers of the economy. It is possible to convert coal into gas, a less harmful source of energy. This is an added advantage. Pakistan possesses the technical expertise for gasification of coal.

However, there is a caveat here. Burning of coal causes most emission of greenhouse gases badly impacting the environment and thus contributing to the dangerous phenomenon of climate change. However, most developing countries have to depend on oil, coal and gas for producing electricity. At present, they have not much of a choice for producing clean energy like nuclear, solar and wind power. However, addressing environmental concerns is essential while using coal for energy production. One significant technology to protect the environment from emission is to capture carbon and bury it in the ground. This process produces diamonds.

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