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.
Also, during the past few years large parts of the surrounding farmland areas, including crops, land and homes, have been destroyed due to the mining operations impacting around 2,500 residents of seven villages. Moreover, in 2011 residents of 15 villages claimed to have lost their access to water because of water being pumped out for the mine in large quantities which resulted in a drop in water levels. The people affected by mining operations are still seeking compensation for their destroyed land and homes. According to a local newspaper, BCMCL has proposed setting up new houses or “tin sheds” and resettling local residents. In March 2011, following protests, the energy adviser to the prime minister talked about the government's idea to set up a “coal city” near the mine, in order to provide additional housing and new sources of livelihood, in particular for the victims affected by land subsidence.
On 5 May 2011, local residents blocked railways and a highway to protest the government's plan to start a “pilot project” of open pit mining in Barapukuria. There were a few thousand demonstrators, demanding compensation for lost crops and the postponement of the ongoing land survey for the project. Residents of Chowhaati, Shahgram, Durgapur, Yousufpur, Rambhadrapur and Bagra villages attacked members of the National Committee and at least five people were injured during the clash.
Demanding regularization of their jobs, insurance and pension packages, Barapukuria coal miners also went on strike and stopped production a few months later on 23 August 2011. They had decided to go on strike following unsuccessful negotiations between the union and the company's management on 22 August. The outcome of the strike is unclear.
On 9 July 2012, at least 20 people were also injured when thousands of local villagers protested against BCMCL in the District of Dinajpur and clashes with the police occurred. The protesters were demanding compensation for land subsided in at least ten villages since 2009. Teargas was fired at the crowd by the police during the clashes.
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. Protesters burned tires on the road, shops and businesses remained closed and a highway was blocked as part of the protest. A feasibility study conducted by the Institute of Water Modeling (IWM) on open-pit mining at Barapukuria was rejected by BCMCL's authorities, saying it did not “match the study's terms of reference (TOR)”. The IWM report stated that an area of 56,000 hectares of Barapukuria would be impacted by open-pit mining and that the water levels would go down from seven to more than 30 meters at different locations.