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SECMC becomes first ISO/IEC 17025 accredited coal mining company in Pakistan.
SECMC wins the National Energy Globe Award 2022 for Thar Million Tree project.
SECMC won a silver award in a category of Environmental Sustainability programme hosted by Gulf International Sustainability Awards 2022 (GSA) in recognition of its sustainability initiatives.
SECMC won the “International Safety Award (Merit) 2022” by British Safety Council for demonstrating Safety Excellence.
SECMC receives ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation on its coal quality management system from Pakistan National Accreditation Cooperation (PNAC).
SECMC wins CEO Award by British Safety Council Awards 2021.
Sindh Engro Coal Mining Co has won the prestigious British Safety Council’s “International Safety Award 2021”.
SECMC won the ‘International Safety Award (Distinction) 2020’ by British Safety Council for demonstrating Safety Excellence.
Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company wins Environment Excellence Award by National Forum for Environment & Health.
Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company wins at Pakistan Digital Awards 2020 in the category of ‘Best Internet of Things’.
Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company won the Best Nomination Paper by National Forum for Environment & Health.
Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) wins Best Practice Award in Social Responsibility Category evaluated on Global Diversity & Inclusion Benchmarks (GDIB) under auspices of The Centre for Global Inclusion USA.
SECMC win at 9th Int’l Corporate Social Responsibility Awards in the category of Sustainability Initiatives.
SECMC becomes an accredited member of the National Safety Council (NSC), USA.
Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) strongly dismisses allegations made in recent news articles and social media posts against the Company, including that its operations are harming local drinking water sources. The allegations are baseless.
SECMC follows all regulations prescribed by Sindh Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) and voluntarily adopted global environmental standards, including those of International Finance Corporation – a subsidiary of World Bank.
Prior to commencing operations, SECMC received all relevant NOCs from SEPA after SEPA engaged global firms & held public hearings to ensure the Projects’ compliance. SEPA also appointed an Independent Environment Monitoring Consultant (IEMC) which has been sharing monthly reports with them since Project inception, including water quality assessments.
Mine dewatering is standard practice. In this case, unprocessed natural groundwater extracted from the third aquifer leaves the site boundary, is transported, and then released directly into the Gorano reservoir, hence there is no possibility of contamination and/or toxicity.
The Gorano Pond is declared a unique wetland for environmental conservation by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and promotes many sources of wildlife in the region, even allowing for fish farming.
SECMC conducts regular testing of Gorano pond through an IEMC and has consistently received results within acceptable ranges. Results from a recent report by Gel Private Limited, an independent testing lab, are below:
SECMC strongly believes in uplifting local communities and follows the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDG) framework for social good. Among its numerous initiatives is installation and regular OEM-recommended maintenance of 17 Reverse Osmosis (RO) plants in Thar Block II and surrounding areas, including Gorano, which provide an estimated 8,000,000 gallons of clean drinking water monthly, in line with SEQ standards, that can serve approx. 100,000+ individual’s drinking water requirement. The water is also tested quarterly by the Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research Laboratories Complex Karachi (PCSIR) and has consistently been found to be within prescribed safe limits.”
SECMC is an exemplary public-private partnership between Government of Sindh and private sector companies. Thar Coal projects are widely recognized as imperative for Pakistan’s economic & energy security and saving its precious forex while bringing prosperity to the region and Country.
After decades of policy shifts on the energy front, will Pakistan go towards domestic coal to avoid the bloodbaths of the spot markets?
It is a simple problem. Pakistan relies heavily on imported fuel sources such as reliquified natural gas (RLNG) to produce electricity. Whenever there is an international crisis, such as the Russia-Ukraine war, Pakistan’s energy sector is rocked by the ripple effect. There is a simple solution. Cheaper fuel — something like coal perhaps. And the source is right there too. Spread over more than 9000 km2, the Thar coal fields are one of the largest deposits of lignite coal in the world — with an estimated 175 billion tonnes of coal that according to some could solve Pakistan’s energy woes for, not decades, but centuries to come.
The question is, if this rich natural resource is available, why has it not been utilised more than it is currently? Discovered in the early 1990s by the Geological Survey of Pakistan (GSP), Thar Coal accounts for around 660 MW of electricity produced in the country. The potential is much greater. If new projects that are currently under construction become operational, in the next year electricity production from the Thar coalfields is expected to increase to as much as 2000MW.
In short, Thar Coal offers a cheap, alternative, local source of energy that can be used to produce electricity and help Pakistan escape its topsy-turvy reliance on international markets to maintain its energy supply. Of course, choosing to rely on a fossil fuel like coal comes at a price. It is one of the most environmentally damaging sources of energy there is, and will give pause to environmental scientists — particularly given the state of the smog-addled Punjab region.
But let us be very real here. Environmental reasons are not why the potential of the Thar coalfields have not been realised. In fact, in the wake of the current commodity supercycle, the government has attempted to increase its already existent reliance on coal as an energy source. To do that, the government is relying on imports of coal. And while this is a queasy thing for environmentalists to think about, if coal is going to be used to produce electricity in Pakistan, it might as well be domestic coal rather than imported coal — at least electricity will be cheap that way.
Pakistan is continuing to import its fuel sources to produce energy because it has been unable to build the necessary infrastructure that would be required to use coal from the Thar fields. So what will it take, and how good of an idea is it?
It starts with the dams. Pakistan is, for the first time since at least the completion of the Tarbela dam in 1976, on the precipice of having a majority of its electricity generation coming from imported primary fuel sources rather than domestic ones.
Following the Indus Water Treaty in the 1960s, immediately began working on the Mangla dam, on which construction started in 1961 and ended in 1965. The much larger, and more ambitious Tarbela dam was constructed between 1968 and 1976.
The truly mind-blowing fact about these two dams? If every single coal-fired power project in Thar came online today, all of them combined would produce less electricity than Tarbela and Mangla. These two dams – and the spree of dam construction that followed over the next two decades – meant that the bulk of Pakistan’s electricity needs were met by clean, domestically produced hydroelectric power plants. Yes, in the 1980s, the government began setting up oil-fired power plants, but the vast majority of Pakistan’s electricity came from water until at least the early 1990s.
What followed on from now was a string of bad decisions beginning from setting up IPPs reliant mainly on oil, and then in the early 2000s the Musharraf Administration decided to convert at least some of that thermal power generation capacity from imported oil to domestic natural gas, under the assumption that Pakistan had abundant domestic reserves.
Throughout this time, coal was not a priority, even though the Thar fields had been discovered in the 1990s. “The total reserves from Thar Coal are more than the combined oil reserves of Saudi Arabia and Iran. The reserves are around 68 times higher than Pakistan’s total gas reserves. Compared to this potential the current utilisation of Thar Coal in the total power generation mix is less than 10% which means that there is huge opportunity to expand in this sphere,” explains Amir Iqbal, CEO of Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company.
“That means Thar Coal has the potential to produce approximately 100,000 megawatts of electricity for 200 years – enough to make Pakistan self-sufficient in the energy sector.”
In fact, it would not be until 2013 when the Nawaz Sharif administration introduced power plants reliant on imported coal. For more details of what happened to lead Pakistan to where its energy sector is, read: The end of cheap energy.
What matters is that we are currently in a situation where we are dependent on RLNG. When RLNG was introduced into Pakistan’s energy mix, it was relatively cheaper and also environmentally friendlier than coal. Although long-term agreements with Qatar still provide gas at a relatively affordable rate, the spot market is a blood bath.
Pakistan has been turning more and more to the spot market to address the growing local demand for gas. Considering the data published by Nepra in the monthly fuel charge adjustment reports, RLNG at its lowest point in the past nine months in February cost Rs 13.65/kWh, whereas in June the costs rose to Rs 29.87/kWh.
The average cost of gas is rising at a very rapid pace, as this particular fuel is in short supply due to the war in Ukraine. Sanctions imposed on Russia have crippled the global energy supply chain as Europe is attempting to shift to RLNG, which is transported via specially designed ships, not to be mixed with the piped gas being supplied to Europe by Russia.
Now, RLNG is a significant contributor to Pakistan’s electricity production. Enough so that the rising price of RLNG on the spot market has caused havoc in Pakistan. RLNG on average has amounted to 17.73% over the course of the past 10 months. This is a considerable contribution to the grid in terms of electricity; the inability to secure any new cargoes at affordable prices threatens the already fragile energy situation of the country.
But it is still not the Most of the electricity produced in Pakistan is done through fossil fuels. From September last year to June of the current year, fossil fuels on average have accounted for about 60% of our energy production, as per Nepra fuel charge adjustment reports.
If we look at the average cost per kilowatt hour (kWh) an upward trend is visible. However, compared to the cost of electricity generated using other fossil fuels, coal is a lot less expensive. In fact, it is the cheapest after local gas. At the same time, the adverse impact on the environment is higher.
On average, coal costs Rs 15.17/kWh and local gas ends up at about Rs 9.5/kWh for the recorded period. Local gas is depleting at a very high rate and hence our reliance on RLNG has been increasing over the past decade.
But then why aren’t we using more coal, particularly the domestic kind? To get a better understanding of Pakistan’s position on coal plants, it would be prudent to understand how many plants we have and how much they contribute to the national grid. At the moment the country is running five operating coal power plants owned by; Thar Engro Coal Power Project (Thar, Sindh), Lucky Electric Power Company Limited (Karachi, Sindh), Port Qasim Electric Power Company (Karachi, Sindh), China Power Hub Generation Company (Hub, Balochistan) and Huaneng Shandong Rui Group (Sahiwal, Punjab).
Apart from the Engro coal power plant in Thar, all other plants are currently relying on imported coal to produce electricity. Although it must be noted that the Lucky Electric power plant is configured to use domestic coal; it is temporarily importing coal and will shift to coal extracted from Thar once the second phase expansion of the mine is completed.
Data from the Nepra website indicates the contribution of coal in the overall energy mix fell significantly after February 2022. This was primarily due to the fact that Engro’s Thar coal plant as well as the Sahiwal coal power plant owned by a Chinese firm were both inoperative. It contributed to the overall energy shortage in those months.
The Engro plant had stopped producing electricity earlier in the year due to a major technical fault resulting in an explosion, whereas the Sahiwal plant was unable to procure coal, industry sources told Profit. The combined capacity of these plants is 1,980 MW. They however are expected to be back online over the year and the contribution of coal will increase.
However, imported coal will still be a problem. Coal was priced at $200-250 per tonne before the Russia-Ukraine war, and as of August 17th it costs $400-450 per tonne, a monumental increase of about 80%. And that takes us to Pakistan’s indigenous coal option: Thar coal.
Amir Iqbal, CEO Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC), told Profit that “The recent global supply chain disruptions have brought to light how Pakistan’s reliance on imported fuels is detrimental to its long-term economic growth,” says Engor Mining boss Amir Iqbal. “The country’s energy mix needs an urgent overhaul with more indigenous sources like Thar Coal added to it. This will save precious foreign exchange reserves and put Pakistan on the path of sustainable energy security.”
“This is one of the major advantages of using Thar Coal, as it is the most economically viable source of fuel for the country. Thar coal expansion could also provide a huge relief for FOREX reserves of Pakistan with savings of approximately USD 2.5 billion, while it will result in the reduction of more than PKR 100 billion in circular debt on an annual basis.”
The potential, of course, is huge. “Currently, Pakistan is generating around 660 MW of electricity from Thar Coal. Within a year, the electricity generated from Thar Coal is expected to increase to 1,800-2,000 MW when new projects currently under construction become operational. Particularly, power projects on indigenous coal are promising a cheaper future for the country,” according to a statement given to Profit by HUBCO.
As of now, there are only two power plants configured to use domestic coal, having a combined capacity of 1,320MW. The power plants owned by Thar Engro Coal Power Project (660MW) and Lucky Electric Power Company (660MW), both are considered to be critical for the grid. Although the Lucky plant, located at Karachi’s Port Qasim, is currently utilising a blend of imported and domestic lignite coal, the impact on the overall forex savings is still noteworthy.
Talking to Profit, Hubco also said that it is expected that another two power plants owned by the company, namely Thar Energy Ltd and Thal Nova Power Thar (Pvt) Ltd would come online within a few months. Both of the plants would be operated by HUBCO and utilise domestic coal adding a further capacity of 660MW.
Another 1,320 MW power plant at Thar block 1, which was conceived even earlier than Engro’s project, would also be operational later this year, said Shamsuddin Shaikh, CEO National Resources Limited, and an expert in the sector. These delays have been hugely detrimental for Pakistan’s economy.
“Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) is operating the country’s first open pit lignite mine in Thar Block II with the current mine capacity of 3.8 Mt/a providing coal to Engro’s power plant producing 660MW of power for the country as of today. As the mine expands and doubles its capacity to 7.6 MTPA by end of this year it would help add another 660 MW to the grid making the cumulative total to 1320 MW. As the project in Thar Block I comes online, another 1320 MW will be added to the grid,” says SECMC CEO Amir Iqbal.
“Over 65% of Pakistan’s electricity is generated using imported fossil fuels, which exposes us to international supply chain shocks and fuel price fluctuations. The long-term solution for this problem is to increase the reliance on local sources of fuel such as Thar Coal, exploring alternate sources of natural gas, expanding hydel power plants and other sources of renewable energy”.
The inability of the government to promote domestic coal is a critical factor in the underutilisation of Thar coal. He said that the government was advised to increase the reliance on domestic coal back in 2016-17, this could have been possible by retrofitting coal plants with the ability to process a blend of both imported and local coal.
The existing plants can accommodate a blend of imported and domestic coal in certain ratios, without undertaking major capital expenditures to retrofit plants. However to convert completely to domestic coal would require the companies to incur capital expenditures for altering the configuration of the plant.
Using domestic coal to produce electricity would be one way to save precious dollars, according to HUBCO officials, it is estimated that Pakistan has been able to save foreign exchange worth $200 million since the commercial operations of first Thar coal plant i.e. Engro Powergen Thar Limited.
The difference in the cost of producing electricity from domestic coal and imported coal is substantial. The cost of producing electricity from the Engro plant, which uses domestic Thar coal, is Rs 10.44/kWh, whereas the Lucky Electric plant which uses the same type of coal (lignite) but imports it costs Rs 20.92/kWh, according to data from Nepra’s latest monthly fuel cost adjustment report.
The other three coal plants, which use imported coal, owned by Port Qasim Electric Power Company (Karachi, Sindh), China Power Hub Generation Company (Hub, Balochistan) and Huaneng Shandong Rui Group (Sahiwal, Punjab), cost Rs 25.94, Rs 24.96 and Rs 28.88 per kWh respectively.
As per information received from HUBCO: “The current price of Phase I of Thar coal is around USD 65/tonne which is significantly lower than the imported coal price of approximately USD 400/tonne. As the mine will be expanded with Phase II and Phase III becoming operational, the economies of scale will further reduce the cost of coal to approximately USD 27/tonne, resulting in an overall lower cost of electricity generation.”
“One of the major advantages of using Thar Coal, as it is the most economically viable source of fuel for the country. The coal expansion could also provide a huge relief for Forex reserves of Pakistan with savings of approximately USD 2.5 billion, while it will result in the reduction of more than Rs 100 billion in circular debt on an annual basis” says Amir Iqbal.
The Phase II expansion of the mine is set to be completed later this year coinciding with the new coal power plants scheduled to be operational later this year as well. This can be seen as a huge development for the economy as it would help in decreasing reliance on imported fuels.
In a discussion with Profit, Zofeen T. Ebrahim, an independent journalist, known for her dedicated contributions to areas of environment, and her interest in renewables stated that, around the world, the global energy crisis is compounded with climate-related disasters prompting developed countries to shift to renewable sources. It can mean the end of the dominance of fossil fuels. With plenty of sunlight and wind, Pakistan has the good fortune of transitioning and riding the renewable energy wave, she believes.
Ideally, Pakistan should be moving towards renewable energy, or at least more environment-friendly fuels, is the unanimous opinion that different stakeholders have voiced in discussions with Profit. However, as the situation stands, the world is running low on gas, and prices are spiking, hence necessitating a strategy that can insulate Pakistan’s energy sector from international price fluctuations. Data published on the Nepra website corroborates the fact that renewable energy is cheaper, and because renewables require no additional fuel to run they would free the country from expensive fuel imports.
An economist, Dr. S. M Naeem Nawaz, an expert in tariff determination, while talking to Profit says, “the only way forward should be to align the power policy with the global climate change vision by focusing on renewable resources (primarily hydel and solar) to transform the primary fuel mix from fossil fuels to renewables in the long run.”
Another relevant point is made by Rahmat Kamal Ghanghro, legal expert on energy and natural resources with over a decade of experience in the sector. “To break the country’s addiction to imported fossil fuels, renewable energy and Thar coal are necessary components of a well planned out energy mix. The current account deficit and global fuel dynamics have reinforced that reliance on imported fuels is not sustainable,” she explained.
When asked about the role Thar coal can play, Ebrahim said that in the interim, indigenous Thar coal could make a huge difference in securing the country’s economic and energy requirements. However, it must be underscored that a comprehensive renewable energy plan must be developed at an accelerated pace to eventually replace fossil fuels forever.
But, practically speaking, she believes that if emission reduction requirements are raised now for projects which are already in the pipeline, the end user would have to bear the brunt of the costs. The fact of the matter is that the planning process related to these strategically vital projects has to be majorly revised, all factors and stakeholders have to be involved and be on the same page to make emission reduction a priority in our national psyche.
In response, even SECMC has acknowledged the reality of coal. “As a company we never deny that coal is not the best source of fuel but considering the needs of the country and for its sustained economic growth; developing coal and other sources of indigenous resources is the need of the hour,” says the SECMC CEO.
“Over 50% of the total power generation of China, over 40% of total power generation of India and over 25% of the total power generation of Australia relies on coal amongst other developed countries of the world. These countries have realised the need of going back to coal and Pakistan should also follow suit by prioritising the energy security of the country. It is pertinent to say over here that the contribution of the Thar Coal power project to the overall carbon emission of Pakistan is less than 0.10%.”
Maintaining energy security all while ensuring sustainability and affordability is a very tough nut to crack, countries around the world have made a lot of headway, yet there’s a long way to go globally.
In the context of Pakistan, energy security has been a question of the ages. As far as public policy and government initiatives go most of them have lacked oversight and have failed in adopting a long-term approach on the issues of energy.
Regardless, discussions with stakeholders and experts have all ended on the same note; the most economically feasible and sustainable approach would be to focus on renewables and Thar coal. Utilising domestic resources rather than relying on imports is invaluable to forex reserves in the long run.
Additionally, it would significantly bring down the cost of electricity, based on calculations of Rs/kWh of electricity mentioned earlier in the article.
At the same time, the environmental impact of burning coal is a real and present danger but that requires mitigation through policies.
Renewable energy such as wind and hydel energy cost significantly less than even Thar coal, but also have limitations. For starters, renewables are unreliable sources to handle the base load, which is the minimum demand of electricity over a period of 24 hours. Electricity being produced by wind or solar farms is susceptible to variations in efficiency based on weather conditions and time of the day. Additionally, establishing renewable projects on a larger scale would involve massive capital investments to develop infrastructure.
A working combination of Thar coal and renewable energy can ensure a sustainable long-term solution. The Indicative Generation Capacity Expansion Plan (IGCEP) 2021 also states that, “inclusion of variable renewable energy, hydro and Thar coal will help in lowering the basket price of the overall system thus providing much needed relief, though in the long run, to the end consumers”.
Iqbal, was also of a similar point of view stating that, “by creating a long-term strategy and attracting investors through consistent policy related decisions, Pakistan will come out of its energy crisis and embark on the path to sustained economic growth as cheaper electricity is one of the most essential components of a growing and developing country”.
Though the role of Thar coal in the country’s overall energy mix is on the rise, there is potential for the government to do more and fast track development plans.
Karachi: 10th October, 2022
Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) has successfully achieved a major milestone of completing phase II of its mine expansion on October 10, 2022, announcing the Commercial Operations Date (COD) for the 7.6 million tons per annum (MTPA) mine expansion from the previously 3.8 million tons per annum under phase I of its plan.
Commenting on the occasion, Amir Iqbal – Chief Executive Officer (CEO) SECMC said, “The successful COD of the Phase II mine expansion is major achievement and shares triumph for both the country and the company as this achievement translates into the much-needed energy security for Pakistan. It started as a dream and now, SECMC is truly transforming the energy landscape of Pakistan in a game changing manner. Despite the challenges posed due to the pandemic conditions, the team at SECMC understanding the criticality of the project, rose to the challenge and successfully completed this expansion within the stipulated timelines.
He continued, “On this momentous occasion I would like to send my gratitude and appreciation to the entire team, stakeholders, partners and local communities who have turned this dream it into a reality.”
Speaking on the occasion, Yusuf Siddiqui — Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Engro Energy Limited elaborates on the milestone by saying, “The successful, safe and reliable operation of the COD of Phase II expansion is a significant achievement not just for us but for entire Pakistan. Such a historic milestone is a great example of how successful the public-private partnerships can do wonders for the country, and I would send my humble congratulations to the Federal and Provincial Governments, our key stakeholders, and the entire team at SECMC for this achievement.”
Siddiqui further added, “At EEL, we are dedicated to safeguard and solve some of Pakistan’s most pressing issues and to further aim at resolving the challenges in the energy value chain which is our core focus under the energy vertical.”
The production output of the mine from 3.8 MTPA to 7.6 MTPA allows an additional 660MW of power generation to the national grid, helping significantly to counter the energy crisis. The phase II expansion will further reduce coal prices from current $65/ton to around $46/ton, making it one of the cheapest sources of fuel.
With 175 billion tons of coal deposits in Thar, this indigenous resource has the potential to easily make the country self-sufficient in energy for years to come.
Karachi: 4th June, 2021
IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature and the Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company launched the second phase of their partnership in Thar, focusing on improving community livelihoods and biodiversity conservation, at a ceremony organized in Karachi today.
The launch ceremony was attended MPA Mr. Qasim Siraj Soomro, senior officials from the government, as well as by representatives of the development sector, academia, media and the private sector.
The programme follows an earlier project on vulture conservation and the first-ever ecological survey of Thar in Sindh.
Speaking on the occasion Chief Guest MPA Mr. Qasim Siraj Soomro appreciated the role the private sector is playing in the development of Thar, and said: “I am encouraged to note that IUCN and the Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) are taking forward their partnership into the next phase – and working towards improving the livelihoods of the communities and conservation in Thar.”
He added that “the progress of the Thar coal energy is a clear reflection of our commitment to the people, and we hope we will together bring about betterment for the people of Thar in particular and the province in general.”
“SECMC has created a wonderful example by not only responding to the energy needs of the people but it has at the same time, created thousands of opportunities for both men and women of Thar,” he noted.
CEO Amir Iqbal of SECMC said that the company while on the one hand was trying to meet the energy needs of the country, it was also responsibly doing so such that it maintains a balance between development and environment while also catering to the basic needs of the communities under its sustainability approach.
Mr. Mahmood Akhtar Cheema, Country Representative of IUCN, said in his welcome remarks, that “IUCN, which works on nature conservation, has joined hands with SECMC to work towards protecting the fauna and flora or Thar and also to create innovative techniques to improve livelihoods of Thari communities.”
Mr. Umair Aslam Butt, Head of HSE, SECMC, said he hoped that this partnership would create the opportunity to work for the communities and help contribute to improving their livelihoods, create new sources of incomes and help towards bringing about prosperity in Thar.
Closing remarks were given by Mr. Danish Rashdi, Head of IUCN Karachi Programme Office, who said that the initiative is aimed at supporting communities in Thar and “the path to this goal is through conservation and sustainable development”.
Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) board has approved the expansion of its Thar Coal Block II Mine to 12.2 million tons per annum (Phase III). With this expansion, coal price of SECMC mine shall reduce to 27 USD/ton. SECMC is expected to complete this expansion by June 2023. At a price of $27 per ton, SECMC Block II coal shall become the cheapest fuel source in the country and will ensure economic stability and energy security for the country. It shall enable Pakistan to save USD 420 million per annum on the account of foreign exchange. Additionally, this expansion of SECMC’s Block II mine, shall lead to a reduction of Rs.74 billion in circular debt on an annual basis.
Speaking on this occasion CEO SECMC, Amir Iqbal said: “With the international coal prices recently crossing an all-time high of ~$250 per tonne and the volatility in the International prices, SECMC, through this expansion not only offers a hedge against market volatility but being an indigenous resource shall ease out the pressures on the Current Account Deficit. Additionally, it is our firm belief that at a price point of USD 27 per ton, Thar Coal shall transcend its current utilization in energy sector to other uses of Coal.”
The cost of this expansion project is estimated to be $93 Million which shall enable Thar Block II to achieve a sustainable supply of 12.2 million tonnes of coal annually over next 30 years. SECMC currently has an annual production of 3.8 million tonnes which is used for generation of 660 MW electricity since the start of its operations in 2019. In its second phase, which is already under development and expected to be completed by mid of 2022, SECMC’s production shall increase to 7.6 million tonnes per annum which will enable cumulative power generation of 1320MW.
With the approval for phase III and subsequent reduction in the price of Thar coal as a direct consequence of economies of scale, the Thar dream is all set to positively impact the economy of Pakistan. This means that utilization of Thar coal should not just be restricted to power generation, rather efforts must be made to use this indigenous resource in other sectors such as cement, steel and most importantly for coal beneficiation to liquid, gas and fertilizer – all of which are technically viable with proper use of technology and capital investment. These alternates can save billions of dollars by reducing the import of coal, RLNG and other petrochemical products.
It is also important to note that SECMC’s expansion plans for the mine not only provide Pakistan with a dependable indigenous fuel source but also come at a time when the country – much like the rest of the world – is managing an economic crisis. Commenting on the country’s overall energy sector dynamics, Ahsan Zafar Syed – CEO Engro Energy – said: “Pakistan’s fuel mix is in dire need of indigenization. The recently approved USD 3 billion package by the Saudi Fund for Development and the support extending on deferred payment for petroleum product import, proves that the country needs to quickly develop its local fuel sources to reduce its foreign dependence and ease the growing imbalance in its trade account. Development of Thar Coal projects is a viable solution to arrest the increasing trade deficit and our reliance on imported fuels.”
Apropos to the report, titled ‘Tharis are forced to consume toxic water’, published in DAWN on March 26, 2022 – Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) would like to clarify that claims made in the report are factually incorrect and misleading on many levels.
SECMC abides by the highest standards of environmental stewardship. Our strategy is deeply centered around our core values whereby we work towards unparalleled standards of integrity and accountability for all our actions. We are aware of our commitment to include a broader stakeholder community and as part of our inclusive business model we ensure all our stakeholders are benefitting from our operations directly and indirectly. We are fully compliant with Environmental Protection Act/Sindh Environmental Act IEE-EIA Regulations 2000 and Sindh Coal Mine Rules 2016. We also voluntarily adopt various international standards such as International Finance Corporation (IFC) – Guidelines for Monitoring Parameters amongst others.
Firstly, the author claims that the “mining activity in Thar was poisoning the precarious groundwater resources”. The mining activity is not using any underground sources of water as it doesn’t need water for operations.
Secondly the article claims that “percolation of toxic water from Gorano and Dukar Chaou reservoirs; lowering of the water table around mining sites and dumping of wastewater in farmlands have been posing a serious threat to the ecosystem and public health” is also factually incorrect. As part of mining operations aquifers above the mine belt need to be dewatered. This ground water once pumped is being deposited at the Gorano Reservoir. Dewatering activities do not have any impact the existing water tables. A baseline study was conducted before the initiation of the project to determine the existing quality and quantity of water at the time. Since then, we have continuously monitored the quantity and quality of water, and our studies indicate that there has been no impact on either of these.
The Gorano reservoir is declared a unique wetland by the globally renowned, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and is serving as a habitat ecosystem for various species of fish and birds in the region. The water being dewatered to Gorano is neither treated nor effluent and is natural groundwater that is not brine. There has been no contamination from water abstraction and disposal operations for Block II and, in fact, if the authors had visited the vicinity, they would know that the said water has often been pumped by nearby villagers for agricultural purposes, too. This refutes the claims made in the article that; “sweet water of the wells surrounding the wastewater reservoirs was getting toxic” and that the “cases of malarial fever and livestock casualties have significantly increased in the area.”
In addition, SECMC also hires an independent monitoring agency – “Global Environmental Management Services (Pvt) Limited (GEMS)- for inspection of dug wells in the nearby villages. All parameters are compared with baseline data conducted in 2014 during ESIA. Till now the parameters have not chnaged nor any impact identified.
The claim that during the mining activity, some “serious violations of environmental laws” were being “committed by coal mining and power generation companies”. SECMC abides with the highest standards of health, safety and environment. Since the inception of this project, we have been 100% Environmental NOC Compliant and follow all local as well as some international standards of regulations and guidelines as mentioned above.
The report quotes two residents who have claimed “that the coal company was “releasing poisonous water openly with no regard to human life” and that the practice was “harming” livestock as more than “50 buffaloes and cows, 70 plus camels and over 500 goats and sheep have died after drinking the poisonous water”. And how the “20 dug-wells had become saline after Gorano dam was developed; and that more than 50 children living in the villages located close to the dam had died over the last few years”
As previously mentioned, such baseless claims alluding that the deaths are caused by water stored in the reservoir are false. There have been no official reports or claims made by any of the villages relating the mortality of the livestock to the reservoir as there is no contaminated water present there nor being reinjected or released.
As a testament to our commitment, SECMC has installed 17 RO plants across different villages which provides 800,000 gallons of clean drinking water to the communities around and benefits the lives of over 40,000 residents of Thar Block II and adjoining areas. Since day one SECMC has abided by the highest standards of environmental stewardship and reiterates its commitment to continue managing its operations in a way that positively benefits all the communities around where it operates.
KARACHI – December 17, 2021: Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) has successfully achieved 10 million tons of coal production milestone. SECMC, one of the largest public-private partnership in the energy sector, commenced commercial operations in July 2019 with an annual production capacity of 3.8 million tons. Over the past 2.5 years, SECMC has successfully unearthed 10 million tons of coal effectively transforming the energy landscape of Pakistan by facilitating production of electricity using indigenous coal reserves.
The record production over the last 2.5 years has resulted in the generation of over 10,000 GwHs of electricity, contributing to the national grid. Besides, the company’s record production of coal and generation of electricity using Thar’s local reserves has benefitted the national economy by saving USD 210 million through import substitution during the same period.
During the course of operations, SECMC has maintained a stellar safety record following international and world-class benchmarks – a feat that has earned international acknowledgements from organizations such as British Safety Council. The Company has also adopted the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) framework to deploy high-impact interventions prioritizing education, health, economic growth and women empowerment amongst other areas.
SECMC has also contributed to uplifting the local community by generating employment opportunities for the local population and creating other economic avenues for the community. It is pertinent to mention that 80% of the employees in SECMC are locals from Sindh where the project has provided significant socio-economic benefit to the local Thari population.
“The 10-million coal production mark is a commendable achievement considering the constant fluctuation and vulnerability in international coal prices,” said Chief Executive Officer SECMC – Amir Iqbal. He added that Thar coal is the best resource to help the national economy in terms of easing out the pressure on the Current Account Deficit and also indigenize the current energy mix which is heavily reliant on imported fuels. Currently, the second phase of the SECMC mine is already under development which will increase SECMC’s production to 7.6 million tons per annum with a cumulative power generation of 1320MWs.
Talking about the subsequent phase III expansion project, Iqbal said that the estimated investment for phase III expansion is to be approximately USD 100 million which will enable Thar Block-II to achieve a sustainable supply of 12.2 million ton of coal annually over the next 30 years. SECMC is expected to complete this expansion by June 2023 and with this expansion coal price of SECMC mine is to be reduced to under USD 30/ton – making it the cheapest fuel source in the country ensuring economic stability and energy security for the country.
In addition, phase III expansion will also enable Pakistan to save USD 420 million per annum on the account of import substitution whilst also leading to a reduction of PKR 74 billion in circular debt on an annual basis.
Karachi: 13th July, 2021 – Thar Foundation – a non-profit organization, primarily supported by the leading business group of Pakistan – Engro, has now signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Human Development Foundation (HDF), a renowned social-development organization, based in Islamabad. As per the
scope of this collaboration, a resourceful initiative has been launched to ensure better quality of life in the
impoverished Thar region, while also improving access to school-education for the young girl-residents of this
HDF will begin with the provision of two school-vans, for the girl-students of numerous schools, being
operated by the Thar Foundation. These school vans have been purpose-built and fitted with special
equipment, to ensure the safety of the female students. This philanthropic program will also enable one family
to graduate out of poverty, while at least 16 girls will get sustainable access to school. Since, this
developmental-intervention is being rolled out according to a self-sustained, social-entrepreneurial model, the
HDF and Thar Foundation will not need to bear any continued financial-obligation or additional costs, after the
Over the next phase; HDF will also plan its intervention in the areas of; Agriculture livelihood and water-sector.
Since Islamkot is the target area of Thar-Foundation, these efforts may include, but are not limited to,
providing submersible-pumps to local farmers, enabling them to practice bio-saline agriculture at community
level, where Thar Foundation will support and share its institutional expertise too.
Reverse-Osmosis (RO) plants are also being adopted by HDF in the Dali and Chachro areas, in partnership with
the District Government. Whereby, HDF will repair and operationally maintain these plants through its own
resources, while engaging the local communities to run these essential amenities. Thar Foundation will
provide the technical expertise, to empower and train the local women for operating these RO plants.
Syed Abul Fazal Rizvi, Chief Executive Officer, Thar Foundation stated “We are pleased to work in cohesion
with a credible institution like HDF, to improve the standard of living for the deprived communities of Thar.
We shall provide the required office-space and other resources for three staff members of HDF, who will carry
out field-activities for these interventions, aimed at delivering many communal benefits, like; education,
health, empowerment, etc.
In future, Thar Foundation and HDF may jointly bid to receive developmental grants, or explore international
funding opportunities, to expand the scale and scope of these interventions, for building capacity and
strengthening their mutual performance.
Karachi: 4th June, 2021
Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) a J-V between Govt of Sindh and private companies is committed to help Pakistan achieve energy security through reliance on indigenous Thar Coal reserves, while ensuring long-term sustainability of the environment as well as accelerate socio-economic progress in the region.
SECMC celebrated the ‘World Environment Day’ on 5th of June 2021, by completing its Million-Tree Plantation Program in the Thar Desert, while continuing several other environmental conservation and preservation initiatives in the remote region of Thar.
With rising concerns about the rapid desertification and deforestation in Thar, in 2017, SECMC launched the Thar Million Tree program to combat the deterioration of this ecology in compliance with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, SDG 13 & 15. By the first quarter of 2018, the company had successfully developed Sindh’s largest private sector nursery, with a capacity to plant and nourish 0.5 Million saplings. SECMC is also investing on free healthcare and education for the local communities while creating awareness about sustainability and global best-practices in environmental conservation.
The Chief Executive Officer of SECMC – Syed Abul Fazal Rizvi expressed his delight on the success of this environment friendly initiative and stated that, “Besides ensuring robust operational performance of our business, we have pledged to undertake a number of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives aimed at uplifting the quality-of-life for the impoverished communities living in this remote Tharparkar region. Vegetation and greenery will have a long-term impact on sustainability, climate and food-security, while enhancing the scenic beauty of this vast, semi-arid desert. We pledge to continue to plant more trees and also scale-up our bio-saline agriculture project which is in commercial development phase right now”.
One of the most unique features of this venture was the enthusiastic involvement of the surrounding populace, who played a key role by conducting multiple plantation drives, like; ‘One Home-One Tree’ and ‘Thari Women Painting Thar Green’, along with the ‘Thar Green Drives’ at schools, villages and hospitals.
The ‘Thar Million Tree Nursery’ used the Miyawaki technique of plantation on 100 acres at Thar Block-2 Site, where a dense forest was grown to increase greening efforts and promote biodiversity. The tree species include; Neem, Bairi, Sarhain, Moringa, Babur and Kandi. Various experts and organizations were engaged as consultants and partners which made this unique project a resounding success, including; Thar Foundation, Sindh Forest Department, the Health And Nutrition Development Society, (HANDS), Urban Forest, Children & Family Welfare Organization (CFWO) and Dua Foundation.
ISLAMKOT, Thursday, September 17
In a major push for increasing green cover, Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) has announced a collaboration with HANDS Pakistan for plantation of 20,000 saplings across Tharparkar.
In this connection, a memorandum of understanding was signed between SECMC and HANDS Pakistan whereby SECMC will provide 20,000 plants to HANDS to increase greening factor across Thar. The collaboration has been done under the larger Thar Million Tree Program initiative of SECMC and Thar Foundation which plans to plant one million trees in Thar by end of 2021. With the current agreement, the total count of trees stands around 800,000.
The agreement was signed by Ahmed Muneeb, Head of Site Operations of Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company and Abdul Karim, Executive Manager HANDS Pakistan.
As per collaboration between SECMC and HANDS, the different types of plants provided will be indigenous to Tharpakar while out of the 20,000 plants, approximately 10,000 plants will be planted in Thar Block II. SECMC and HANDS Pakistan will also be responsible for continuous monitoring and supervision of these plants across the areas of plantation.
Speaking on the occasion, Ahmed Muneeb of SECMC said that the company was vigorously working for making clean and green environment in district Tharparkar an specifically Thar Block II. He further elaborated, “We attach great importance to health, safety and environment (HSE) initiatives. Keeping in view this approach, we have now partnered with HANDS Pakistan to expand horizon of such activities and allow us to fulfil our program objective of planting 1 million trees across Thar.” Abdul Karim – District Executive HANDS Pakistan – also said. “The contribution of SECMC in the region through its various interventions has shown significant satisfaction among locals and made really positive contribution in their lives. I am hopeful that this MoU will serve as an aid in combating desertification in the region by making it greener and more diverse.”
Earlier SECMC established Sindh’s largest private sector nursery spread over 80 acres of land and having a capacity to nurture 0.5 million saplings at a time. The nursery has contributed saplings of different local species like Sarhain, Moringa, Bairi, Babur, Neem and Kandi. The program is aimed at contributing towards carbon footprint reduction and promoting a green and healthy environment in Tharparkar.
For more information, please contact:
Mohsin Babbar | Manager CSR & Communications | 0345-8213209 | [email protected]
Shamikh Ahmed | Manager Marketing & Communications | 0302-8275133 | [email protected]
Tharparkar, Pakistan, 04 September 2020
During the launch of a first-of-its-kind vulture status report on Sindh, Ms Naheed Shah Durrani, Secretary, Ministry of Climate Change, assured the Ministry would work with Sindh Government to declare greater Thar as a national park. She was attending the launch of the report “Status of Vultures in Sindh” organized by IUCN and the Sindh Engro Coal Mining company under their vulture conservation project, currently underway in Thar.
The project is being undertaken by Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) in partnership with IUCN, Baanhn Beli and Sindh Wildlife Department.
A key finding of the report confirms that vulture populations are increasing in the province, and apart from Tharparkar – long considered a stronghold of vultures – Khirthar National Park and its extended range up to Gorakh Hills too are now considered population habitat of these critically endangered birds in Sindh.
The ceremony was attended, amongst others, by Ministry of Climate Change Secretary Ms Naheed Shah Durrani; Syed Abul Fazal Rizvi, CEO-SECMC, Senator (Retired) Javed Jabbar, Founding President Baanhn Beli, and Conservator Wildlife Sindh Mr. Javed Ahmed Mahar. Other participants included renowned conservation experts, from Pakistan, India, USA, UK, Nepal and Thailand. A large number of representatives of the federal and provincial governments, NGOs, wildlife experts and representatives also attended the event.
In her keynote address, Chief Guest Ms Naheed Shah Durrani, praised the team of IUCN, SECMC, Sindh Wildlife Department and Baanhn Beli, and the Zoological Survey of Pakistan, for their tremendous efforts towards producing “this consolidated and comprehensive baseline report on vultures in Sindh, which is the first of its kind in the province.”
“I am overwhelmed by this data and topic, and this is a topic of such importance. Every time such topics are discussed, we get to know the ground realities and it helps us form the context of conservation in Pakistan. Such research is always useful and carries a huge amount of information and data, which helps us become more aware and formulate our strategies in conservation in Pakistan. This work is extremely useful – given the importance of these critically endangered scavengers to our ecosystems,” observed Ms. Durrani.
Ms. Naheed Durrani asked the government of Sindh to start preparing the concept on National Park in Tharparkar for which she assured full support of the Ministry of Climate Change..
She further noted that Ministry is becoming overly conscious about protecting our ecosystems, wildlife sanctuaries and Protected Areas. “Hence this kind of work contributes to our mission, and we can then see how we can jointly take such initiatives forward, and make use of the realistic and solid recommendations given by experts,” she added.
This work also helps us create greater awareness amongst the people as well as in the government functionaries and communities, and eventually goes towards the improvement and survival of such precious habitats, she explained.
Ms. Durrani congratulated SECMC, IUCN, Baahnh Beli and the Sindh Wildlife Department for this overarching and precious work that has been produced by amazing teams of experts.
The survey team was led by Dr. Z.B. Mirza, a renowned world-class birds’ expert in Pakistan, along with Mr. Naveed Soomro from IUCN and Ms Farwa Sharriff. At IUCN, the project is being managed by Mr. Naveed Soomro, himself a conservation expert, who has contributed immensely to the survey and the project.
In his presentation, Dr. Z. B. Mirza said that Tharparkar is a unique region, where four species of vultures are resident and three are migratory. He termed the increasing population of dogs as a great threat to the vultures. He also said that overgrazing and over capacity are also factors for decline of vultures. He said that lopping of trees as a fodder in the area reduced the opportunity of nesting for vultures. Fast growth and overpopulation of humans and degradation of habitats is a vicious cycle. He recommended that monitoring of vultures conservation should be started. He further said that awareness raising among the residents is must for making the efforts fruitful.
Senator (Retired) Javed Jabbar thanked SECMC, IUCN and Sindh WIldilfe Department and appreciated their unique collaboration for a common cause towards conserving vulture population. He termed this effort to be a part of the global struggle to preserve biodiversity. He also appreciated the efforts the team of Dr. Mirza for conducting the survey in difficult conditions during summer and winter seasons for producing a pioneering landmark publication. He said that Vultures are disappearing because of irrational use of a drug. He mentioned a horrific revelation of the survey result that only 15% of the stores are aware that the drug is dangerous for the vulture population.
Syed Abul Fazal Rizvi, CEO-SECMC, explained the background for this initiative, and how this project was evolved. He noted that SECMC, despite a coal company, was all for preserving and conserving nature, and was trying to contribute, amongst other areas, to biodiversity conservation in Thar as well under its exemplary CSR. He said “we welcomed the suggestion from Sindh Wildlife, that the survey be undertaken in the entire Sindh province, instead of just Thar, as our purpose was to get a job done well, he said. He was appreciative of the work done by IUCN, Sindh Wildlife Department and Baanhn Beli and said SECMC was equally committed to improving the environment of Thar, through such conservation projects.
Mr. Javed Meher, Chief Conservator, Sindh Wildlife Department appreciated the efforts in conducting this intensive survey. He further said that the future course of action for the vulture conservation in Sindh has been esthetically laid down in this report. He was of the view that the protection of the habitat of vultures is essential to make the conservation efforts fruitful. He assured full support of the Sindh Wildlife in the conservation efforts as and when required.
In his remarks, Mr. Mahmood Akhtar Cheema, IUCN Country Representative Pakistan, appreciated generous financial support of SECMC, strong partnership of Baanhn Beli and technical support of Sindh Wildlife Department helped in conducting this detailed survey of entire province of Sindh. He mentioned that the vulture population in Pakistan has steeply declined over the last 20 years or so, and accelerated efforts are now underway to save these large, magnificent birds, from the many threats they have been facing.
He blamed the “diclofenac sodium – a pain killer drug normally administered to livestock for rapid vanishing of the vultures population in the country. He said that despite a ban since 2006 on the production and use of veterinary medicines containing diclofenac, the unauthorized use of the drug has continued with impunity, posing a major threat to this remarkable species.
Mr. Naseer Memon, GM CSR and Communications, at SECMC, gave the vote of thanks and said he was pleased to note that Secretary MOCC, Ms. Naheed Shah Durrani, having done wonderful work in Sindh, was now at the federal level, yet her support continued for such projects especially in Thar. “What we witnessed in Thar, in the form of torrential rains, clearly pointed to the need to do more to fight climate change impacts which were also affecting biodiversity. And this requires us to collaborate for the betterment of our ecosystem and our people, and such collaborations, involving both the development sector and the private sector, help us achieve good results on the ground.
He also thanked Senator (Retired) Javed Jabbar and Mr. Mahmood Akhtar Cheema for their continued support.
IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature, helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment and development challenges. IUCN’s work focuses on valuing and conserving nature, ensuring effective and equitable governance of its use, and deploying nature-based solutions to global challenges in climate, food and development. IUCN supports scientific research, manages field projects all over the world, and brings governments, NGOs, the UN and companies together to develop policy, laws and best practice. IUCN is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental organization, with more than 1,326 government and NGO members and over 11,000 volunteer experts in some 160 countries. IUCN’s work is supported by over 1,000 staff in 45 offices and hundreds of partners in public, NGO and private sectors around the world.
For more information or to set up interviews, please contact:
Naveed Soomro, Manager Thar Programme, IUCN Tel: +92-21-35861540-2, Cell: 0303-3336249, email: [email protected].
Karachi, August 05: In a major push for increasing green cover in Karachi and mitigate the effects of climate change, Thar Foundation – the CSR front for Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) & Engro Powergen Thar Limited (EPTL) – has announced a collaboration with the Urban Forestry for plantation of over 10,000 saplings across the metropolis.
In this connection, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed by Thar Foundation, and Urban Forestry whereby, together with SECMC, Thar Foundation will provide 10,000 saplings to Urban Forestry to increase greening factor in Karachi and create green spaces in the city. This collaboration has been done under the larger Thar Million Tree Program initiative of Thar Foundation which plans to plant 01 million trees in Thar by end of 2019. With the current agreement, the total count of trees stands over 700,000.
The agreement was signed by Syed Murtaza Azhar Rizvi, Director Site Operations of Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company and Shahzad Qureshi, Convener, Urban Forestry amongst presence of officials from both sides.
Speaking on the occasion, Syed Murtaza Azhar Rizvi, Director Site Operations, Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company said: “Thar Foundation has voluntarily adopted the Sustainable Development Goals framework of the United Nations to ensure that we arrest climate change and initiate measures that will help in deploying a green and healthy environment. Our collaboration with Urban Forestry is a natural extension of our resolve to further environmental stewardship and create green, public spaces in Karachi.”
He further added that this MoU signed for launching tree plantation activities in Karachi is part of our Thar Million Tree Program, which is the Company’s flagship environmental stewardship program targeted at planting 01 million trees by end of 2019. The MoU with Urban Forestry will aim to bring the betterment of community and environment across Karachi by carrying out massive plantation in one of the largest metropolises of the world.
Earlier SECMC established Sindh’s largest private sector nursery spread over 80 acres of land and having a capacity to nurture 0.5 million saplings at a time. The nursery has contributed saplings of different local species like Sarhain, Moringa, Bairi, Babur, Neem and Kandi. The program is aimed at contributing towards carbon footprint reduction, combating desertification and promoting a green and healthy environment in Tharparkar.
KARACHI – Monday, August 19, 2019: In pursuance of the announcement by the Government of Sindh, a NED University campus under the name of Thar Institute of Engineering, Sciences and Technology (TIEST) is being setup in Islamkot, Tharparkar, which will start its Bachelors of Computer Science program from this year. In this regard, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been inked between NED, SECMC and The Citizen Foundation (TCF) to commence classes at Thar Institute of Engineering, Sciences and Technology (TIEST) from this year. The TIEST will initially be established at the TCF-Engro Campus Islamkot, district Tharparkar, till the permanent, purpose-built campus is constructed near Islamkot. The construction of the Thar Institute of Engineering Sciences & Technology is being financed by the Government of Sindh.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of SECMC, Syed Abul Fazal Rizvi, Registrar of NED University of Engineering & Technology, Syed Ghazanfer Hussain and Syed Asaad Ayub Ahmad, President and CEO of TCF signed the agreement. SECMC would assist, support and facilitate NEDUET in developing its constituent college TIEST by providing local expertise needed for the initial work of the campus while TCF will provide space in the existing school at Islamkot.
Speaking on the occasion, CEO SECMC, Syed Abul Fazal Rizvi said that establishing a campus of NED – one of the most prestigious engineering universities in Pakistan in Thar is indeed a great accomplishment which will benefit the talented youth of the region, particularly Tharparkar and adjoining districts. Government of Sindh is already providing great support in this cause, while Engro & the other partners in SECMC will continue to fulfil the dream of “Thar Badle ga Pakistan” (Thar Will Change Pakistan),” he said.
Dr. Sarosh Lodi, Vice Chancellor NED was of the view that they feel privileged to provide state-of-the-art higher education services in a remote area of Tharparkar at NED Islamkot Campus.
Syed Asaad Ayub Ahmad of TCF said that, they are already serving the Thar region, providing quality education services in Mithi, Islamkot and near Thar Block-II. “Playing its part to further serve the area by sharing a space for university campus is an honour for TCF and we reaffirm our commitment to uplift the underprivileged area of Tharparkar,” he said.
KARACHI: International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Baahn Beli, on Sunday, launched the first-ever vulture-safe vaccination drive in Thar, targeting vaccinating over 6000 livestock in two days, as part of their ongoing vulture conservation programme in collaboration with the Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company in Sindh’s Thar region. Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company – under the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) – is working on various initiatives and projects targeted at interventions aimed to improve life of the Thari communities and enrich the bio-diversity of the region.
The drive was launched at a small ceremony organized in the vicinity of the Gorrano reservoir, which has overtime become a hotspot for birds in the region. Hundreds of local Tharis brought their livestock to the free vulture-safe vaccination camp, which also offered free veterinary check-up. Senior officials from the Sindh Livestock Department, Sindh Wildlife Department, SECMC, IUCN and NGO Baanhn Beli participated in the ceremony.
Chief guest on the occasion was MPA Sher Mohammad Bilalani. Speaking on the occasion, MPA Bilalani assured the gathering that the Livestock department will work towards ensuring the discontinuation of the harmful drug Disclofenac that has been responsible for the steep decline in vulture population in Pakistan. Representative from the Sindh Wildlife Department, Mr. Talpur said that it was mandatory that “we all work together to protect the wildlife which is our asset.” He also explained how different animals play their role in keeping the environment healthy.
Ms. Afia Salam, President Baanhn Beli, IUCN’s partner on the project, explained: The first initiative under this partnership aims to protect endangered vulture species in the region through both in-situ and ex-situ methods of conservation over a period of three years. The project entails training to Thari communities on preserving and protecting vultures in their natural habitat. External factors which have contributed to the steep decline in the vulture population, such as the administration of harmful drugs like Diclofenac to livestock, will also be addressed.
Mr. Naveed Ali Soomro, Project Coordinator for the vulture initiative in Thar, described the role of vultures in the ecosystem and explained to the community their role in ensuring vulture nests and trees where vulture nests are located, are protected. He explained how “the dearth of vultures in our ecosystem has led to numerous health issues and how vulture plays its critical role in maintaining a balance in the ecosystem. He also appreciated the generous support being given by SECMC as well as the presence of representatives from Baahn Beli who are working jointly with IUCN for the restoration of the endangered vulture species.
We have already commenced a host of programs under the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals to enhance growth and prosperity of the Thar region and through this partnership we are hopeful that we would be able to learn from the expertise of IUCN to further the impact of our programs.”
Mr. Naseer Memon, General Manager CSR, SECMC appreciated the support given by the livestock department and MPA Mr. Bilalani, and encouraged the communities to help the programme achieve its objectives by playing a more active role in creating awareness of the threats to vultures and their role in the ecosystem.