China has expressed its
willingness to help install four nuclear power plants in various parts
of the country
April 29 - May 05, 2002
Besides providing generous financial and
technological assistance for giant projects like Gawadar port, Thar
Coal, Saindak gold and copper projects, coal fired power generation
projects, China has now offered help for nuclear power plants.
According a source at the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC)
China has expressed its willingness to help install four nuclear power
plants in various parts of the country to generate 2100 MWs of
electricity at an estimated cost of $ 3.3 billion.
Keeping in view financial difficulties and a
slowing down of the demand for electricity, the PAEC has made a
revised nuclear power programme, to be completed by 2015. The
programme envisages that one 300 MW nuclear power units will be
operational by the year 2015, while a fourth 600 MW nuclear power
plant will be operational by 2016, the source said.
Apart from this a Chinese oil company has shown
keen interest in the construction of an oil refining unit at the port
city, roughly estimated to cost $600 million. It is also looking for
new avenues for potential investments in acquiring equity share in the
proposed Iran ñ Pak Refinery or setting up an independent oil
refining unit at a feasible location in the financial hub of the
The crude oil would be imported from Sudan where
the companyís exploration work is in progress. Keeping in view the
facility of the Karachi Port, it has shown the interest in investment
or in setting up an oil refinery unit at the coastal city.
The company is also studying the market in Pakistan
for the petroleum products it will produce. A delegation of the
company is on a study tour and has visited various locations to
explore new avenues for investment in Pakistan.
Sources in the Ministry of Petroleum said that it
might be a huge investment but declined to give details about the
areas of interest of the company. The delegation of the company also
visited the National Refinery Limited (NRL) where it was briefed on
the refining operations of the NRL.
It was indeed a red-letter day in the history of
Pak-China relations when, about 2 weeks back, the Federal Minister for
Petroleum and Natural Resources, Usman Aminuddin performed the ground
breaking ceremony for initiating the excavation of coal deposits at
Thari-jo-Tar, in district Tharparkar, Sindh. The ceremony market the
government's firm decision to commercially exploit and utilise
Pakistan's largest coal reserves, estimated at about 175 billion
tonnes spread over an area of 9,000 square kilometers.
Speaking on the occasion, the minister disclosed
that President General Pervez Musharraf himself requested the Chinese
government, during his official visit to that country, to extend
assistance to Pakistan for commercially exploiting the rich wealth of
coal deposits in the Tharparkar district. This is one of the most
backward areas of the country, which is now destined to reap the
economic benefits resulting from the envisaged development of coal
mining. A network of roads is also being constructed in the area as
necessary pre-requisite to provide transport facilities from the area
for the movement of coal to different sites.
The contract for preliminary excavation of coal has
been awarded by the provincial government to a private firm, Bakht
Business House of Karachi known for coal mining expertise. A pleasant
coincident as revealed by the managing director of this company, was
the discovery of water near the area at a depth of 60 feet in
abundance, sufficient for irrigating about 200 acres of cultivated
land for over 10 years. This undoubtedly is help from the heavens as
water would be required in a fairly large quantity for mining and the
It may be recalled here that the Geological Survey
of Pakistan discovered these reserves with the assistance of US
Geological Survey back in 1992. But little attention was given by
successive governments to initiate its commercial exploitation. The
investment from Chinese companies is estimated at $500 million which
would involve establishment of two power generating plants of 250
megawatts and 150 megawatts each using indigenous coal as fuel.
While development of Thar coal reserves will change
the fate of — the people living in Thar the most backward area of
Sindh, the economy of Balochistan province, hitherto a neglected area
in our priorities, has received two major boosts with Chinese help
during the last month. Oneof the Chinese Vice Premiers, Wu Bangguo
performed the ground breaking ceremony of Gawadar deep sea port on
March 23, 2002. Besides the Saindak copper gold project closed for the
last over six years resumed operation by almost the same time.
Th multibillion rupees Saindak project in Chaghi
district complete in every respect which was standing idle since 1995
is poised to go in production during the next 2 months under the
control of MCC of China to whom the project has been leased out. The
Saindak complex, which is in good condition, consists of 50 MW power
plant built by Germany and France, bulk water supply system of 32,000
tonnes of daily drinking water, water treatment plant, warehouse,
workshops, laboratories, storage, airport and railroad link with ECO
(Previous RCD) highway. Moreover, the complex has modern Housing
Township with schools, hospitals, shopping plazas, streets,
streetlights and network of water pipeline for more than 2000
The ground breaking ceremony of Gawadar deep sea
port was performed by the Chinese Vice President on March 23, 2002.
Speaking on the occasion the Minister for Communications said that
China had strictly adhered to its commitment for financial and
technical assistance in the construction of the Gawadar deep sea port.
Expected to be completed in two phases, the port will provide housing,
transshipment, commercial and industrial facilities for international
import and export trade with Afghanistan, Central Asian States, Gulf
States, East Africa, Red Sea countries and Sri Lanka, through
Pakistan. He said that Balochistan government has already allotted
about 18000 hectares of land, free of cost, for the port construction
with ultra modern amenities and facilities for promotion of trade,
commerce and industry via sea and overland. There are also plans for
railroad network with Gawadar 653 km long road is already
under-construction at a cost of over Rs. 11 billion, linking Gawadar
with Karachi on one side, while with Jiwani near Iran on the other.