How big is the mine footprint?
The mine footprint is 5,193 hectares. At any one time only a third of this will be used for mining, the remainder can continue to be used prior to mining or following rehabilitation after mining.
How much power generation can the Phulbari Coal Mine support?
Three million tonnes of Phulbari coal can supply a 1,000MW coal fired power station. GCM has made a proposal for a 1,000 MW coal fired power plant at the mine mouth, which could be increased to 2,000MW capacity. At peak production, Phulbari Coal Mine will produce 12 million tonnes of thermal coal which could either substitute imported coal or support new generation capacity of 4,000MW. See Meeting Bangladesh's Energy Needs.
How many people will need to be relocated due to the Project?
Based on the only extensive study of the communities in the Phulbari area involving visits to over 25,000 households, GCM estimates that 40,000 people including 2,300 indigenous people (not households) live within the planned mine footprint and will need to be progressively resettled as the mine develops. GCM has committed to improve the living conditions and restore the livelihoods of all effected people. These commitments will be subject to external verification. The resettlement process will recognise the vulnerability of indigenous people. See Resettlement.
How will agriculture be affected due to the Project?
Over the life of the mine the land required will be some 6,000 ha (includes mine footprint, resettlement villages, new town area and infrastructure realignments). Although the Life-of-Project mining footprint is 5,192 ha, at any one time the active mining area will occupy only about 2,000 ha. This allows the Agriculture Improvement Plan to be applied to the estimated 3,200 ha of the mine footprint that will remain under cultivation. 700 ha will remain in non-agricultural use as it did before the Project - largely taken up by public infrastructure and homesteads. See Agriculture.
The cropping intensity in the Project area is currently two crops per year. The Project's Agriculture Improvement Plan will deliver an additional crop per year and higher yields per crop. This will be achieved by:
- Abundant water being provided from the mine’s deep tube-well dewatering program for year round irrigation.
- Training for farmers and the introduction of improved farm practices.
- Market research to assist farmers move to crops of highest yield and highest market value.
- Improved storage and timely delivery of produce to market. Provision of higher quality inputs (seed & fertilizer).
- The introduction of bio-fertilizer to reduce the dependence on pesticides and other chemicals.
Will the Project affect water access to households and farmers?
Water management for the Project has been extensively studied as part of the Feasibility Study. A detailed Water Management Plan supported by consultants with extensive experience has been developed. The extracted water will be high quality and will be distributed continuously for irrigation and drinking. Natural groundwater levels will be maintained by the proven technique of injecting some of the water into the ground at a distance from the mine site thus restricting the water draw down to the mining area.
As with existing mining operations, systems will be put in place to ensure that all surface water released from the mine will comply with purity standards. An Environment and Social Impact Assessment for coal transport has been completed and water contamination is not a significant risk. See Water Management.
Will the transportation of coal affect the Sundarbans World Heritage Area?
The Project is located about 450 kilometres to the north of the Sundarbans Reserve Forest and so will have no direct impact on the Sundarbans World Heritage Area. The Project's supply chain and potential export of some of the coal will involve shipping and barging through established shipping routes that are outside the World Heritage area. The waterways of the Sundarbans have been important trade routes for many centuries and Mongla Port, located on the Pussur River 48 km south of the river port town of Khulna, is Bangladesh's second largest seaport. Dredging is already routinely carried out to keep Bangladesh's waterways open and also reduce the impacts of flooding. To support this requirement the Government of Bangladesh announced on the 9th March 2011 that it had established collaborative arrangements with the Dutch Government for protecting rivers and developing its waterways.
The Project's Feasibility Study included extensive studies into the navigability of the Mongla Port Authority's waterways and determined the dredging and shipping aid improvements required to achieve international shipping standards. It also incorporated an independent risk assessment of the entire transport route from Phulbari to the Bay of Bengal and concluded that the Project's transport plans will result in improved rail and maritime safety and so establish standards that will better protect the country's national heritage assets.