Location & Ownership
The Phulbari Coal and Power Project is located in the Dinajpur District of Northwest Bangladesh, approximately 350 kilometres from the capital, Dhaka, and 10 kilometres from the Indian border. The region is relatively flat with occasional natural forest remnants at an elevation of 30 metres above sea level and comprising an alluvial plain with slightly raised terraces formed in pre-historic time by the drainage of the sub-Himalayan river systems (the Ganges/Padma and Jamuna rivers).
The climate is subtropical with the early summer months (March to early June) normally hot (maximum temperature of up to 40 degrees Centigrade), dry and windy with occasional storms occurring in the pre-monsoon period. Most rainfall occurs in the monsoon period from June to late October and annual rainfall averages 2,000 millimetres. The project area is not subject to the flooding and cyclones that affect the southern coastal areas. The minimum temperature in winter is about 8 degrees Centigrade.
The region's economy is mainly agricultural, with reasonable infrastructure but little industry and few services. The region has road, rail and air connections. To the immediate north of the Project is the Barapukuria coal field, an underground mining operation. With a planned output of 1 mtpa, and an associated mine mouth power station with an output capacity of 250 MW, this project was developed by Chinese contractors for the Government.
The mine footprint covers an area of 5,193 hectares and is 11 kilometres long and 3 kilometres wide. 80% of the area is open fields and is used for agriculture. The development of the mine will have significant benefits.
BHP Minerals International Exploration Inc entered into a Contract with the Government of Bangladesh in August 1994, giving it the right to explore and mine coal in Northern Bangladesh. In February 1998 the Contract was assigned to GCM’s wholly owned subsidiary, Asia Energy Corporation (Bangladesh) Pty Limited, with the endorsement of the Government. GCM has fulfilled all its obligations under this legally binding Contract and holds a mining lease and exploration licences in the Phulbari area covering the prospective mine site. Under the terms and conditions of the Contract a mining lease has a 30 year term (from 2004) and may be renewed for further periods of 10 years each at GCM's option