The power sector remains the biggest consumer of coal in Pakistan, according to Economic Survey of Pakistan 2022-23, citing data from Hydrocarbon Development Institute of Pakistan.
During the July-March period of the fiscal year 2022-23, the total consumption of coal by the power sector stood at 7.297 million metric tonnes. It was followed by cement and other industries with the total consumption of coal standing at 4.8 million metric tons.
Thereafter came the brick kilns with total consumption of 3.321 million metric tons, followed by households with a mere 1,500 metric tons.
The total consumption of coal by different sectors of the economy stood at 15.418 million metric tons during the period under consideration, out of which 9.402 million metric tons were mined indigenously from various coal fields of the country, the main among them the Thar Coalfield. The remaining 6.576 million tons were imported from various international suppliers.
Pakistan plans to continually increase its domestic coal production in order to meet the burgeoning demand of its power sector and expanding the industry. There is an urgent push by the government to shift away from imported coal, and to increase dependence on indigenously produced coal.
It is expected that significant increase in the production of coal will be witnessed when Thar Coalfield Block-I will be mined for coal in the near future. Currently, coal mining is being carried out from mines in Thar Coalfield Block-II.
Consumption of coal by sector
(000 metric tons)
Pakistan has more than 186 billion tonnes of coal reserves. These reserves will continue to meet the energy needs of the country for a long time to come. However, power generation and the development of industry using coal as a raw material causes environmental issues. If there is to be development, it must be evenly shared, and it must be greener in nature.
Coal can help Pakistan end its power woes, and supercharge its industry to grow while creating employment and generating income along the way.
It must, however, be stressed that too much reliance on coal will inevitably cause environmental pollution, which has already become an existential threat for the country and the world. Therefore, the country must switch to clean and green sources of energy as soon as possible while using coal to reach that end.
Initiatives of the government to that end are highly opportune, and they must be complemented with media campaigns to raise awareness about the criticality of the situation. It will enable the people to readily adopt innovative solutions to the problem of energy, and cooperate with the government in successfully implementing its green agenda.