Vol. 5 Num 643 Mon. March 20, 2006  

Energy adviser's comment on coal exploration deal with Asia Energy protested

Former director of the Mineral Resources Development Bureau of the energy ministry and geologist M Mominullah in a statement yesterday strongly protested Energy Adviser Mahmudur Rahman's recent comment that the agreement with the Asia Energy on the Phulbari Coal Mine project was done against the interest of the nation.

He said the licence for the coal mine was issued to world's biggest coal developer BHP Minerals on August 20, 1994 as per the then coal policy and laws framed under the mandates of the constitution. Then as per the provision of the country's and international law, the BHP licence was transferred to Asia Energy on February 11, 1998.

Then following internationally recognised codes and norms, Asia Energy conducted its studies at Phulbari and declared that this mine has a proven coal reserve of 572 million tonnes.

"Mahmudur Rahman has been given additional responsibility of the energy ministry. He has also taken the responsibility to carry out the national geological programmes as per his wisdom and experience," said Mominullah. Therefore, his misleading comments might create a hindrance to development of the country's coal sector as well as other mineral sectors, he added.

"An irresponsible comment from the adviser in charge of the mineral sector carries a negative signal for the mineral sector at the national level," he said.