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Pakistan's prominent scientists Dr. Samar Mubarak (R) and Dr. Ishfaq Ahmed (L), chairman of country's Atomic Energy Commission, stands in front of a hill under which Pakistan conducted its five nuclear tests. - Photo by AFP

ISLAMABAD: Thar coal project will become operational in December 2013, member of the Science and Technology Planning Commission, Dr Samar Mubarakmand, said on Thursday.

Talking to a private news channel, he said that the project would bring prosperity in the country. “Pakistan has enough coal reserves that can provide electricity to the country for more than 500 years,” he said.

He said that development work is in progress and the first 50 megawatts gasified project has almost been completed.

He said that the project is to cost Rs8.898 billion with a foreign exchange component of Rs 5.847 billion that was approved by the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council last year.

Dr Mubarakmand said that the success of the Thar coal project would lead to investment from the leading international companies.

He said that several foreign companies wanted to participate in the project and had shown interest.

He said that fifty per cent coal-fired power generation works has already been done, while the rest would be completed within a months.

With the completion of this project, the nation would get cheap and sufficient power supply thus resolving the current pestering energy crisis, he added.

Dr. Samar said it is for the first time in Pakistan that the coal gasification is being launched on commercial basis and abundant and cheap electricity would be available if it gets through.

He said the coal gasification was already producing 50000MW around the world, as the cost of electricity per unit is relatively low.

He said the four continents in the world are working on this project, as this method has enhanced energy efficiency reaching to 76 per cent.

He said the new growth strategy of the country is being emphasised on power generation through coal. He said our installed capacity of thermal generation is 12000MW against hydel generation of 9000MW.