MAC: Mines and Communities

Asia Energy Lobbying For Phulbari Coalfield

Published by MAC on 2007-02-28
Source: NewAge

Asia Energy lobbying for Phulbari coalfield

Dubious Korean company wants Dighipara field

by Aminul Islam, NewAge

28th February 2007

The controversial UK-based Asia Energy and a little-known South Korean investment company, Luxon Global, continued lobbying the interim government for the Phulbari and Dighipara coalfields respectively.

Officials of both the companies separately met the power and energy adviser, Tapan Chowdhury, on Tuesday and discussed issues relating to the progress of Phulbari coalfield project and exploration licence for the Dighipara field.

Asia Energy chief executive officer Gary Lye called on the adviser in the afternoon while a delegation of Luxon, led by its vice-president Sang Yeop Lee, in the morning.

After the meeting with Lye, Tapan told New Age that the Asia Energy executive officer wanted to know about the progress of the Phulbari coal project. 'I told them that there was no progress in the coal project,' he said.

Sources close to the Asia Energy claimed that the company had already got a 'green signal' from the interim government in its controversial development scheme on Phulbari coalfield.

Most officials of the energy and mineral resources division also favour Asia Energy for the Phulbari field, although a government-formed committee found that the Asia Energy's agreement is illegal and despite controversies surrounded over the proposed open-pit mining of the company.

Representatives of previous BNP-led government signed an agreement with protesters in Phulbari to scrap the deal with Asia Energy following the killing of three people by law enforcers when they were staging demonstration against the company last year.

The Luxon officials, on the other hand, submitted a proposal to the energy adviser to get an exploration licence for the Dighipara coalfield.

The state-run Petrobangla has already decided to apply for the exploration licence for the coalfield.

Luxon ,which claimed itself as an investment and development company and has no experience on operating a coalfield like Asia Energy, proposed that it would form a consortium with the Korean Coal Corporation to explore coal in Dighipara.

About Luxon's proposal, Tapan told reporters that he had apprised the officials of the Korean company that the government would consider its proposal in line with the proposed coal policy when it is approved.

When asked whether Petrobangla should get preference to get the licence, Tapan said, 'I personally feel that no foreign company should get hundred per cent ownership of any coalfield. The company can form partnership with Petrobangla under the ownership of the government.'

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