Mechanized Mining

According to approved scheme, LCDC was to develop two mechanized coal mines to produce 750,000 tonnes of coal per year to be supplied to the installed 150 MW thermal plant of WAPDA at Khanote. Another three units of 150 MW were to follow raising total annual coal demand to 1500,000 tonnes. A Chinese firm was assigned the job of preliminary mechanized mine design through international bidding. The firm China National Machinery Import and Export Corporation (CME) had prepared the preliminary design report of mechanized coal mining project of LCDC, as per agreement. According to design, all mining and related operations were to be fully mechanized.

In the mean time, LCDC had sunk some conventional mining shafts along lease boundary firstly to check encroachment from neighboring lease holders and secondly to provide coal to thermal plant for trial run. Simultaneously, LCDC had started efforts to arrange foreign exchange for funding of F.E component of the project. The operational efficiency of thermal plant did not match the designed capacity and WAPDA decided not to set up the remaining 3 units (150 MW) and government decided to set up same through private sector. The coal requirement of already installed units did not exceed 50% of designed capacity and therefore coal requirement was reduced rendering mechanized mining uneconomical.

The economical mechanized mining has following two pre-requisites :

  • It should be universal, which means same mechanization standards should apply to all mines in the country.
  • An uninterrupted coal consumption arrangement is to be ensured matching to designed capacity of mine.

Since LCDC was the only company in Pakistan to go for mechanized mining therefore first pre-requisite was not available and the economics of mechanized mining were to be dependent only upon the ensured consumption of 7,50,000 tonnes coal annually being the designed capacity of installed units. The actual coal requirement of even installed plant was below 50% and that too with frequent break down. Thus coal requirement was abnormally reduced and under this situation LCDC Board decided to drop the idea of mechanized mining and further decided to meet the coal requirement through conventional mining as already started to check boundary encroachments and also to meet trial coal requirement of thermal plant.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *