Barapukuria underground coal mine and open-pit coal mining project, Bangladesh

The first and only operating coal mine in Bangladesh, amidst reactions and repression, unmet promises and opposition by local people


Description

The Barapukuria coal mine is operated by the Barapukuria Coal Mining Company Limited (BCMCL). Although there are many other coal mines and projects under review at the moment, none of them have been built until today which makes of Barapukuria the first and only operating coal mine in Bangladesh. It is an underground coal mine located in Barapukuria in the Dinajpur District. The underground mine also includes an area of 263 hectares of agricultural land on the surface. Since coal mining began in 2005, there have been different fatal and near-fatal accidents that occurred at Barapukuria. This included the death of a British mining expert, a gas leakage accident in 2005 and a roof cave-in in 2010 where one worker was killed and 19 other were wounded.

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Basic Data
NameBarapukuria underground coal mine and open-pit coal mining project, Bangladesh
CountryBangladesh
ProvinceDinajpur District
SiteBarapukuria Coal mine
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Coal extraction and processing
Thermal power plants
Specific CommoditiesLand
Coal
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe Barapukuria underground coal mine has an annual production capacity of 1,000,000 metric tons.

Coal produced from the mine is being used for power-generation by two 150 MW capacity coal-fired thermal powerplants located in the District of Dinajpur.
Project Area (in hectares)1,012 hectares underground mine, including 263 hectares of surface farm lands Possible impact on another 56,000 hectares due to open-pit coal mining
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population2500 people in seven villages.
Start Date01/01/2005
Company Names or State EnterprisesBarapukuria Coal Mining Company Limited (BCMCL) from Bangladesh
Petrobangla from Bangladesh
Relevant government actorsBangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB)
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersInternational Accountability Project: http://accountabilityproject.org/
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)LATENT (no visible organising at the moment)
When did the mobilization beginMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Local ejos
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Forms of MobilizationBlockades
Street protest/marches
Strikes
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Food insecurity (crop damage), Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood
Outcome
Project StatusUnknown
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseRepression
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.It is not clear whether the government has actually started its open pit mining pilot project until now. Although compensation was promised and people were resettled, local residents were mostly unsatisfied with the outcome and demanded the company to fulfill their promises.

A solution taking into account the villagers' demands seems still out of reach, as by November 2014, local protest continued against the open-pit mining project at the Barapukuria coal mine.
Sources and Materials
References

FONG-SAM, Yolanda (2014), 2012 Minerals Yearbook, Bangladesh (Advanced Release), U.S. Department of the Interior, Geological Survey (USGS), November 2014,
[click to view]

Links

Barapukuria coal mine in trouble, by Kongkon Karmakar and Sharier Khan, The Daily Star, 6 March 2009
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Villagers of Phulbari, Barapukuria block highway, The Daily Star, 1 March 2011
[click to view]

Massive protest against Phulbari & Barapukuria coal mines in Bangladesh, by Kate Hoshour, International Accountability Project, 4 March 2011
[click to view]

Siege protesting open pit mining to continue today, The Daily Star, 5 May 2011
[click to view]

Barapukuria coal mine, SourceWatch, The Center for Media and Democracy
[click to view]

Feasibility study on Barapukuria open-pit mining sent back, by Shahnaj Begum, The Independent, 19 November 2014
[click to view]

Barapukuria protest continues against open-pit mining, Observer Online Desk, The Daily Observer, 27 November 2014
[click to view]

Cultural Survival on highway blockade
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Other Documents

Miners and workers of Barapukuria Source: Miners and workers of Barapukuria Coal Mine Company Ltd and Barapukuria Power Plant bring out a procession in Dinajpur yesterday to protest against the alleged corruption of the officials of the two projects. Photo: STAR

http://archive.thedailystar.net/newDesign/print_news.php?nid=88828
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Meta Information
Last update07/05/2015
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