Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN) – A parliamentary standing committee on Wednesday stuck to its decision favouring open-pit mining of coal from the Barapukuria colliery at Fulbaria in the country’s northern Dinajpur district.

The committee on the ministry of energy and mineral resources asked for open pit mining after analyzing ground realities at Barapukuria, the New Age, a local newspaper reported on Thursday.

“Greater interest of the country calls for open pit coal mining,” Chairman of the Committee Subid Ali Bhuiyan reportedly told reporters after the 30th meeting of the committee in the Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban in Dhaka.  

Mr. Bhuiyan also said the committee took the decision for open pit mining after visiting Barapukuria Colliery, Maddhyapara Hard Rock Mine and Barapukuria Thermal Power Station.

He said only ‘six’ to ‘seven’ per cent coal could be extracted through underground mining and ninety per cent coal could be extracted through open pit mining.

Some people were campaigning against open pit mining without knowing about it, he added.

Rights groups, environmentalists, energy experts and the national committee to protect oil, gas have been campaigning against open-pit mining as it would displace thousands of people from their homes and hearths besides destroying fertile farmland and the underground water table and damaging the environment.

Bangladesh’s five deposits in three northern districts have about 2,500 million tonnes of high-quality coal, according to the state-run mineral resources corporation Petrobangla.

Estimates show a deposit of 572 million tonnes of coal at Phulbari at depths ranging from 150 metres to 240 metres and 390 million tones at Barapukuria at depths ranging from 119 to 506 metres.

BBN/SSR/AD-27Oct11-10:39 am (BST)