Coal in Phulbari, Birampur – Economy and Politics.

Posted November 9th, 2009 by |

Coal is the most highly used source of energy for generating power in the world. Although, it has adverse environmental impacts, it is so widely used mainly because it is relatively cheap, abundantly available and readily fits with traditional power generation technologies. It is extracted from mines using both underground and surface mining techniques – either of them having advantages and disadvantages. Surface mining methods (i.e., open pit, strip or mountain top) are implemented in areas that are remote from human habitations and civic amenities (e.g., mountainous regions of British Columbia, Canada). In surface mining a larger proportion of deposits can be commercially extracted compared to underground mining. But, surface mining severely alters the landscape, which damages environmental value in the surrounding land.

Bangladesh has small coal reserves, and has consumed little coal in the past. Bangladesh began commercial coal production in April 2003 with the opening of the Barapukuria Coal Mine, which is expected to produce one million short tons of coal per year (Mmst/y), principally for electricity generation. This mine is being used to fuel the 250-MW Barapukuria Coal-Fired Power Plant in Parbotipur, which began commercial operation in January 2006. Another possible coal mining project at Khalashpir is under consideration as well.

Despite Bangladesh’s small reserves, the government has recently promoted the development of coal to ease its reliance on natural gas for power generation. Although estimates vary, Bangladesh’s Energy Ministry judges that the country has up to 3.3 billion short tons of high-quality coal reserves. Energy value of it is 35 -40 TCF gas.

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