Sindh Engro Coal Mining Co (SECMC), the largest coal miner in Pakistan, is expected to increase its coal production by 51.3% in 2024 as part of the government’s efforts to reduce imports, lower fuel expenses, and stabilize its finances. SECMC plans to raise its coal production to 11.5 million tonnes in 2024, up from an estimated 7.6 million tonnes this year, according to CEO Amir Iqbal.

The company aims to encourage power plants currently reliant on imported coal to utilize 20-25% domestically mined coal. Iqbal mentioned that preliminary work has been done on transitioning imported coal-based power plants to use local coal, emphasizing its feasibility.

Pakistan, facing a foreign exchange crisis, is striving to preserve its depleted reserves and guard against geopolitical uncertainties. While SECMC has the necessary funds for mining expansion in 2024, challenges arise beyond that point as Chinese lenders have halted support for coal projects. Iqbal called for government assistance in the form of financial instruments to sustain expansion.

With a population exceeding 230 million, Pakistan relies heavily on natural gas for electricity generation but is exploring coal-fired options to reduce costs. Iqbal highlighted the cement industry as another significant sector that currently relies entirely on imported coal, suggesting the potential for substitution with domestically sourced coal.

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