Muhith for open-pit coal mining

Finance Minister AMA Muhith on Wednesday advocated for open-pit coal mining, saying it would be the most effective way to extract maximum coal.His comment came amid nationwide controversy and demonstrations against open-pit coal mining. Muhith said the government in its current tenure about how to extract the country’s coal resources.
“The government will make its decision on the matter before the incumbent government expires its tenure,” said Muhith as he came out of a meeting with representatives from the FBCCI.
“Our country is populous. Residences of many of them need to be relocated due to open-pit coal mining. But I assume the amount of coal resources we have in reserve cannot be extracted without open-pit coal mining.”
“In any other method, coal extraction will be 20-25 percent less,” he said.
People from business and industrial sectors are pressing government for increasing its power production capacity for industrialisation. They are also urging the government for installing coal-based power plant.
The government too mulls power production using coal resources to cope with the country’s gas crisis and rise in fuel prices in the international market.
The government already signed two agreements for establishing coal-based power plants of MW 2,500. One of the two plants will be built as part of the Bangladesh-India joint initiative, and the other one will be built by the private sector.
The government even has plans to import coal from abroad for running operation in the plants.
Bangladesh has five coal mines, only one of which is under extraction and the government did not finalise a coal policy yet.
A coal-based power project is currently in operation at Barapukuria, producing MW 250.
“Power production will exceed MW 7000 this year. The new plants approved will become operational by 2016-17,” said Muhith.
“Still 25 percent of our power is generated using liquid fuel. It costs us more. We need to extract our reserve coal for switching dependence from liquid fuel,” he added.

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