Open-cast coal mine, Phulbari, Bangladesh

The Phulbari coal project is a proposed open pit coal mine in northwest Bangladesh and includes the construction of at least one 500-MW power plant. At full production about eight million tons of coal will be transported by rail and barges to an offshore reloading facility located in Akram Point. An additional four million tons will be exported to India via railway, and the remaining three million tons will be used for domestic energy consumption.
See more...
Basic Data
NameOpen-cast coal mine, Phulbari, Bangladesh
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Coal extraction and processing
Specific CommoditiesCoal
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe mine contains 570Mt of Permian coal resource at depths of 150-300m, overlain by 120m-thick saturated tertiary sandy sediments. Would produce 15 million tonnes of coal/year if implemented
Level of Investment (in USD)1100000000
Type of PopulationUrban
Start Date2006
Company Names or State EnterprisesGCM Resources from United Kingdom
International and Financial InstitutionsAsian Development Bank (ADB) from Philippines
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersBangladesh Environmental Network, Banktrack, Accountability Project
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingNeighbours/citizens/communities
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local scientists/professionals
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Artisanal miners
Social movements
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
International ejos
Landless peasants
Forms of MobilizationBlockades
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Shareholder/financial activism.
Street protest/marches
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Desertification/Drought, Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Food insecurity (crop damage), Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Waste overflow, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Mine tailing spills
Health ImpactsVisible: Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..) , Deaths
Potential: Accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Occupational disease and accidents, Other environmental related diseases
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Increase in violence and crime, Militarization and increased police presence, Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession
Potential: Displacement, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseDeaths
Violent targeting of activists
Criminalization of activists
Strengthening of participation
Development of AlternativesA ban on open pit mining in the region
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.The government is still set on implementing the project despite the mass protests and the potentially devastating impacts, arguing for the immediate need to extracting coal to cover fuel and electricity shortages.
Sources and Materials

Alliance for responsible mining

European directive on the management of waste from extractive industries

Convention on the Prevention of Marine

Pollution by Dumping Wastes and other Matters

Equator Principles

Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative

ILO Safety and Health in Coal Mines

ILO Safety and health in the iron and steel


International Council on Mining and Minerals

(ICMM)- 10 Principles

OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises

Safety and Health in Mines Convention

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of

Indigenous Peoples

Universal Declaration of Human Rights


[1] BankTrack Dodgy deal Phulbari Coal Mine
[click to view]



[click to view]

[click to view]

Other Documents

Bank Track report on the Phulbari mine, 2013
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorMalena Bengtsson
Last update08/04/2014