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Pak company approaches Coal India for exploration work

Pakistani mining company has approached Coal India Limited for coal exploration work in the Sindh region of their country. Representatives of Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company Limited (SECMCL), a joint venture of Engro Powergen and Sindh government, recently met Central Mine Planning and Design Institute, a subsidiary of CIL, for the work. The SECMC is planning to mine lignite (a type of coal) from Sindh's Thar block for power generation. The Engro Powergen Qadirpur Limited, another Engro Corporation subsidiary, has already established a 220 MW power plant in Sindh's Qadirpur.

CMPDI's technical secretary, N. Dubey said, "We are in touch with them. They wanted the cost details of the project, which we have provided. However, they are yet to place a formal order to us."

The Pakistanis approached CIL through the Indian High Commission in Islamabad, which in turn referred them to CMPDI.

The area is an extension of the Thar desert (Rajasthan), which is full of lignite reserve. "We have been doing the exploration work of lignite (a kind of coal) reserves for Neyveli Lignite Corporation (NIC). They came to know about our expertise in lignite exploration apparently through Neyveli officials," Dubey said.

He added that the Pakistani company had earlier approached a German firm for the purpose. Germany uses a very advanced technology for lignite mining. "However, the German company quoted a high price, which was apparently not viable for the Pakistani company. There were some stringent conditions to. Later they came to know about us and approached us," the official said. Though he refused to disclose the price quoted, he said it was about one third of what was being asked by the German company. "The area where the company wants exploration work done is very remote, with no proper infrastructure and power connection. We proposed to them that we can start work with smaller equipment," he said.

The issue of security of mining engineers also came up during the preliminary discussions. The company officials have said that they will take care of it.

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