Master plan for coal exploration, use likely
M Azizur Rahman
The government is likely to prepare a master plan aiming to develop the country's coal mines and encourage the use of locally extracted coal.
"The master plan will aim at achieving an ultimate coal production capacity of 30 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) in phases over the next two decades," a senior official of the Energy and Mineral Resources Division (EMRD) told the FE.
He said the plan might suggest export of sufficient quantities of coal in the initial years to cover the large investments to be made by the foreign energy companies.
Coal exports might be brought down once the local demand for the fuel rises, he said elaborating the key features of the proposed plan.
A draft coal policy prepared by the Infrastructure Investment Facilitation Centre (IIFC) has emphasised on framing of a master plan to ensure the country's energy security in the coming decades.
The EMRD under the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources (MPEMR) is expected to prepare the master plan with the help of foreign consultants and local experts.
To accelerate coal sector development within the next 10 years, a sustainable coal production level of 10 to 15 Mtpa or more and a minimum generation of 1000 MW coal fired electricity should be achieved.
The government plans to generate at least 3000 megawatt (MW) from coal-fired plants by the next 15 years.
At present there is no coal-fired power plant in Bangladesh, whereas, coal accounts for 30-70 per cent of total electricity generation in many countries.
To carry out the transitional activities and functions of the coal sector a high-powered committee, to be known as the Coal Sector Development Committee, is to be established for a period of five years under the proposed plan.
The EMRD Adviser will head the committee, while Director of the Bureau of Mineral Development (BMD) will act as its member-secretary.
The secretaries of EMRD, Power Division, Communications and Shipping, the chairmen of Petrobangla and Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) and the director general of Geological Survey of Bangladesh (GSB) will be the members of the proposed committee.
Under the proposed plan all existing fees relating to the coal exploration license and mining lease like application fee, license renewal fee, annual license fee, assignment fee and license retention fee would be revised.