Power plants with a combined capacity of 3000 MW are to be developed and commissioned in the Thar coal field over the next five years. In the first phase of the programme two plants each with a generating capacity of 300 MW will be constructed.

The Chinese Shenhua group has been awarded the initial project and has started work on a feasibility study. Four blocks of the coal field have been reserved for power generation and the project will utilise one of these blocks. A memorandum of understanding has been signed by the Sindh government and its Chinese partner.

The Thar coal field contains around 175 billion t of coal. Of 9000 km2, 350 km2 have been studied in detail; these contain proved reserves of 9 billion t which has been divided into four sections for development.

The Thar coal cannot be transported over long distances because of a tendency to combust spontaneously so power plants must be constructed at the coal field. The feasibility study for the first two power stations is expected to take around one year to complete. Construction is expected to begin soon afterwards.