The new method to boost coal production from country's loan coal mine - Barapukuria - has been unsuccessful as the authority failed to provide the necessary extra machineries for the additional coal extraction.
As a result the capacity of coal lifting at Barapukuria remains the same, sources said.
It was learnt that to increase production through underground (deep shaft) mining method, the authority adopted the Long Wall Top Coal Caving (LTCC) method technology but did not take measure to add it in the regular production as it did not increase the capacity of the 'shaft and belt' which contribute to lifting out the coal from the mine and dumping it in the production zone.
According to the Barapukuria Coal Mine Authority, it adopted LTCC method to lift pieces of coal with six-metre thickness from all sides of a slice to double coal production from the second slice of the mine at Barapukuria in Dinajpur but it failed to give the desired output as the authority did not take any measure to lift out the coal from the mine. The mine has a reserve of 390 million tonnes of coal over a 6.68 square kilometre of areas at Barapukuria of Parbatipur upazila, according to a 1985 survey by Geological Survey of Bangladesh.
Aimed at increasing the production from Barapukuria coal field, the Barapukuria coal mine authority adopted the LTCC method to increase its production areas to support the power ministry's plan to produce 6,000 MW of electricity from coal two years ago. "There is huge coal reserve underground, but we failed to extract it and so the production remains unchanged. In fact, it hampered the regular production in the underground areas as huge amount of coal is being dumped there," a senior official of Barapukuria coal mine authority told the Daily Observer on Sunday seeking anonymity.
He said if the authority seriously wants to increase the production then it requires to install a new shaft (Lift) and conveyer-belt there. This would take about two years, he added.
"We are now set to go for feasibility study on the field to prepare an expansion plan so we could produce more coal from here as country needs more coal to scale down the cost of power production," the official said.
Mohammad Kamruzzaman, the former managing director of the Barapukuria Coal Mining Company Limited (BCMCL) who is the current Director of Production Sharing Contract (PSC), said that the long wall (shaft) technique of coals extraction only allows extraction from the front side of a slice.
Although there is huge controversy about the output of LTCC but it is still considered ideal for thick seams and proven safety advantages in the areas of face stability, operational control and management of spontaneous combustion. Nevertheless, LTCC allows up to 80 percent recovery of additional coal that is usually not mined in conventional Long Wall Extraction, he added.
According to Petrobangla, China National Import and Export Corporation (CMC) is now operating the coal mine although the deal between BCML and CMC has ended which was signed in 2005. BCMCL signed another deal with the CMC-led consortium with XMC, after the first one expired. Though the consortium was supposed to extract 4.75 million tonnes of coal according to the first agreement, it lifted about 3.65 million tonnes, which is 0.099 million tonnes less than the target, he said.
However, Bangladesh Power Development Board (PDB) bought 80 percent of the coal extracted from the mine. Some brickfields and other private firms buy the rest.