COAL RESERVES IN PAKISTAN
DR. S. M. ALAM
Dec 12 - 18, 2011
Coal is the cheapest and the most common fuel used directly or indirectly to produce electricity and heat in the world today. The coal is a fossil in the earth and used for production of electricity in many parts of the world (in per cent): 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, and Pakistan seven. Global coal consumption was about 6.7 billion tons in 2006 and is expected to increase by 48 per cent to 9.98 billion tons by 2030.
Coal is widely used to generate electricity and in steel production, cement manufacturing, 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, and ammonia.
Pakistan is endowed with 185 billion tons coal reserves. Thar coalfield is spread over areas of more than 9,000 sq.km.
Sindh: The coal mines in Sindh are found in the areas of Thar coal (175,506 million tons), Sonda-Thatta (3,700), Indus East (1,777), Jherruck (1,823), Lakhra (1,328), Ongar (312), Jhimpir (161), and Badin (16). The quality of coal is mostly of lignite-B to sub-bituminous A-C.
Punjab: The Punjab coal reserves occur in the coalfields of eastern, central and western Salt Range (213 million tons) and Makerwal (22) making a total of 236 million tons. The rank of the coal is sub-bituminous- A to high volatile bituminous.
Balochistan: The quality of coal is sub-bituminous-A to high volatile bituminous. There are six known coalfields. The following are significant. Khost-Shrig-Harnai (76 million tons), Sor Range-Degari (50), Duki (50), Mach-Abegum (23), Pir Ismail Ziarat (12) and Barkhan-Chamalang (6), making a total of 217 million tons.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: Hangu/Orakzai (82mt) and Cherat/Gullakhel (8) making a total of 90 million tons.
Azad Kashmir: Kotli is the only place that has an estimated nine million tons coal reserves.
Coal is classified into four major groups:
I) 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.
II) SUB-BITUMINOUS: It is a dull black coal and gives up a little more energy (heat) than lignite when it burns.
III) BITUMINOUS: It is called soft coal and has powerful burning capacity and iv) 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.
Globally, the share of coal in power generation is about 38 per cent.