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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


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
Name of conflict:Barapukuria underground coal mine and open-pit coal mining project, Bangladesh
State or province:Dinajpur District
Location of conflict:Barapukuria 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 commodities:Land
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The Barapukuria underground coal mine has an annual production capacity of 1,000,000 metric tons.

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Project area: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
Affected Population:2500 people in seven villages.
Start of the conflict:01/01/2005
Company names or state enterprises:Barapukuria Coal Mining Company Limited (BCMCL) from Bangladesh
Petrobangla from Bangladesh
Relevant government actors:Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB)
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:International Accountability Project:
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityLATENT (no visible organising at the moment)
Reaction stageMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Local ejos
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Street protest/marches
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Food insecurity (crop damage), Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood
Project StatusUnknown
Conflict outcome / response:Repression
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain: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 & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

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

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

Villagers of Phulbari, Barapukuria block highway, The Daily Star, 1 March 2011
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Massive protest against Phulbari & Barapukuria coal mines in Bangladesh, by Kate Hoshour, International Accountability Project, 4 March 2011
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Barapukuria coal mine in trouble, by Kongkon Karmakar and Sharier Khan, The Daily Star, 6 March 2009
[click to view]

Feasibility study on Barapukuria open-pit mining sent back, by Shahnaj Begum, The Independent, 19 November 2014
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Cultural Survival on highway blockade
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Meta information
Last update18/08/2019
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