Govt to sign coalmine contract with China consortium again

http://www.thefinancialexpress-bd.com/more.php?news_id=154050&date=2011-10-25

B’pukuria coal lifting, management
Govt to sign coalmine contract with China consortium again
M Azizur Rahman

The government has decided to award the existing contractor — China National Import and Export Corporation (CMC) led consortium with XMC – the job of coal extraction and management of the country’s lone operational coalmine at Barapukuria for the next six years, an official has said.

A formal contract will be signed again with the consortium comprising CMC and Xuzhou Coal Mining Group Company Limited (XMC) shortly, said the official at the energy ministry.

The Chinese CMC-XMC consortium came out successful in getting the work as it was the lone bidder for future coal extraction and management of Barapukuria coalmine in the northern district of Dinajpur in the country, he said.

The consortium is now continuing operation at Barapukuria coalmine following a ‘green signal’ from the energy ministry.

The previous contract with the Chinese CMC-XMC consortium expired in August 2011.

Under the new contract, the Chinese consortium will require continuing operation on the fully mechanised long-wall retreat pillarless system of mining, using multi-slicing extraction techniques with the minimum production capacity of 1.0 million tonne of coal per year.

Currently, annual production from Barapukuria coalmine is around 800,000 tonnes per year.

But production will double to 1.6 million tonnes by next year, Managing Director of Barapukuria Coal Mining Company Limited (BCMCL) Md Quamruzzaman said.

BCMCL is the first fully mechanised underground coalmine in the country where coal is being mined from a single layer having approximately 36 to 40 metre thickness.

Total coal reserve in Barapukuria is estimated at 390 million tonnes, of which only 64 million tonnes are recoverable. Some 1.13 million tonnes of coal have so far been extracted.

Bangladesh’s lone 250-megawatt (mw) capacity coal-fired power plant near the Barapukuria coalmine is a large consumer of Barapukuria coal.

“The power plant consumes around 70 per cent of the total coal production, if it remains operational,” said the BCMCL top executive.

Construction of Barapukuria coalmine was completed by the CMC-led Chinese consortium under supplier’s credit on 31st may 2005.

On completion of construction, a production, management and maintenance contract was signed with the CMC-led consortium along with XMC on 4th June, 2005 for a period of 71 months to produce 4.75 million tonnes of coal from the 1st slice of underground mine at a total cost of US$ 82.30 million.

Officials said BCMCL had floated international bid in December, 2010 aiming to get a fresh contractor for coal extraction from Barapukuria.

But the Chinese CMC consortium emerged as the lone bidder for management, production and maintenance services of the Barapukuria coalmine much to the discomfort of the BCMCL.

The Chinese consortium earlier had sought extension of their contract, but BCMCL was not interested to extend it and floated the tender seeking a new contractor.

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