At least 5 injured in explosion at Thar coal plant

At least five people are believed to be injured after an explosion occurred at Engro Powergen Thar Limited’s (EPTL) coal power plant in Thar on Wednesday.

In a statement, Engro said that the explosion occurred at 5pm in the coal conveyor unit of the plant’s 330MW unit 1. The company said that five people were “affected directly” without elaborating further, but said that they were stable and being provided the necessary medical aid.

“Immediately the safety and emergency response teams were activated. At this point in time, our foremost priority remains the safety of our people and we remain focused on providing them with all necessary support,” the company said.

In the statement, Engro said that initial reports showed that the explosion occurred in the conveyor belt systems which feed the coal into the power plant.

“It is important to share that the power plant was under scheduled outage where one of the units was already shut down for maintenance whereas the other was operational.”

The company said that it was shutting down the operational unit for safety reasons while investigations into the incident were underway.

“Further details will be shared as and when additional information is available,” the company said.

Meanwhile, police sources quoting the plant’s management said that it was a “low level incident”. They said police and the district administration had reached the site after the incident occurred, but the fire had been controlled by that time. Police sources also said that no loss of life was reported in the incident.

Construction on the country’s first 660MW power plant, an early harvest China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project, commenced in April 2016. It was to begin generating 660MW of power by December 2018.

However, the coal power plant started pumping electricity generated by domestic coal into the national grid in March 2019, starting with 330MW.

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