China seeks to launch thermal power project in Bamiyan

A Chinese official visiting Kahmard district in Bamiyan on July 30, 2022.

China is looking into building a thermal power station in Bamiyan province as part of a project that was agreed upon between a Chinese company and the previous government in Afghanistan.

Based on the project, the station will use the coal extracted from coalmine sites in Kahmard district in Bamiyan and the electricity will be used for the extraction of copper at Mis Ainak copper mine in Logar province.

A Chinese delegation visited Bamiyan on Saturday, July 30, and visited the Kelich coalmine site in the Kahmard district of Bamiyan as primary efforts to survey the start of the project, according to sources aware of the matter.

Taliban officials said they will share the details of the Chinese delegation’s visit later.

But according to a Taliban spokesman in Bamiyan, Saboor Saighani, the Chinese team will continue its survey for two days.

The project is important for Afghanistan economically and can have long-term impacts but all depends on the possibility of its implementation, analysts said.

Kahmard district has two main sites for coal extraction, the Ashposhta and the Kelich, both in the northeastern parts of the province.

Illegal mining in Bamiyan coalmines was banned a decade ago and an agreement was signed at the time with (Metallurgical Corp of China) MCC, a Chinese company, to extract the Bamiyan coal, but the project was delayed multiple times due to security issues.

According to sources, the MCC is expected to produce at least 400 megawatts of power from the thermal electricity project.

Taliban started extractions at three sites in the Bamiyan coalmine and announced that the extracted coal is sold to a private company. The Taliban also announced that they earned 75 million Afs (nearly $840,000) from the coalmine in six months.