Jan 18 - 24, 20

Coal is a major mineral source for production of electricity in many parts of the world and some of the countries used coal for electricity production are in percent: Germany 47, USA 50, Greece 58, Czech Rep 59, India 69, Morocco 59, Kazakhstan 70, Israel 71, China 78, Australia 80, Poland 93, South Africa 93, Pakistan 7.

According to the International Energy Outlook 2006, world coal consumption is projected to increase to 7.6 billion tons in 2020 from 5.3 billion tons in 1997. It stated coal used in developing Asia was to increase by 2.4 billion tons.

China is projected to add an estimated 180 gigawatts of new coal fired generating capacity by induction of 600 plants of 300 megawatts each, by 2020 and India 50 gigawatts from 167 plants.

The coal share of energy consumed worldwide for electricity generation is projected to decline slightly to 34% in 2020.

Coal is widely used to generate electricity, for steel production, cement making, utilization in sugar industry, production of soft coke for foundry industries, and gasification.

Power plants use coal to produce energy in the form of heat for changing water to steam. Coal is an important source of raw material and several chemical products can be produced from coal. Refined coal tar is used in the manufacturing of a range of chemicals such as pitch, dyes, nylon naphthalene, phenol, pyridine, benzene, ethylene, propylene, polyesters, plastics, synthesis gas, acetic acid, acetic anhydride, ammonia gas. Residues of coke ovens are used in manufacturing of ammonia salts, nitric acid and various types of fertilizers.

Coal is also used in coal gasification and in this process coal is converted into gaseous products by reaction with air, oxygen, steam or mixture of these. The resulting gas can be used as fuel gas or as synthesis gas for other chemical products.

Pakistan is deficient in power generation and intends to generate energy from indigenous resources, especially from coal to meet its mounting energy requirements.

Pakistan is endowed richly with this natural source of energy. In the electricity generation coal may make a substantial contribution. The total coal reserves of Pakistan as reported by Geological Survey of Pakistan are estimated to be around 185 billion tons and of these nearly 175 billion tons are located in the Thar desert in Sindh. The reserves are said to possess a good quality of lignite deposits. Currently, the share of coal in the Pakistan's overall energy mix is less than 5%.

The coal deposits in different parts of the country are in million tons: Sindh-Thar coal (175,506), Sonda-Thatta (3,700), Indus East (1,777), Jherruck (1,823), Lakhra (1,328), Ongar (312), Metting-Jhimpir (161), and Badin (16). The quality of coal is mostly of lignite-B to sub-bituminous A-C. Punjab-eastern, central and western Salt Range (213), Makerwal ( 22). The deposit is ranked sub-bituminous- A to high volatile bituminous. Balochistan-(the coal seams in Balochistan are found in Ghazig formation of Eocene age. The quality of the coal is sub-bituminous. There are six known coalfields mostly around Quetta) Khost-Shrig-Harnai (76), Sor Range-Degari (50), Duki (50), Mach-Abegum (23), Pir Ismail Ziarat (12), and Barkhan-Chamalang (6). NWFP-Hangu/Orakzai (82) and Cherat/Gullakhel (9). Azad Kashmir-Kotli (9).

With such huge deposits of coals in the country, no time should be wasted to dig out the coal mines in order meet the rising needs of energy.

Coal is classified into four major groups Lignite: The largest portion of world's coal reserves is made up of lignite, a soft brownish black coal that forms the lowest level of coal family.

Sub-bituminous: It is a dull black coal and gives up a little more energy (heat) than lignite when it burns.

Bituminous: It is called soft coal and has powerful burning capacity.

Anthracite: It is the hardest coal and gives up a great amount of heat when it burns. One of the valuable content of coal is carbon content which supports most of it heating value.

Other contents of coal are moisture, ash, sulphur and volatile matter. Anthracite is top ranked coal with the highest content and ranges between 86-98%. Bituminous and sub-bituminous are inferior to anthracite. The bituminous variety is used to generate electricity and to make coke for the steel industry.