Private Power and Infrastructure Board on Tuesday issued letter of Interest to consortium of M/s CWE Investment Corporation China and M/s Trans Tech Pakistan for the construction of 590 MW Mahl Hydropower Project.

Federal Minister for Water and Power, Khawaja Mohammad Asif witnessed the ceremony, while Shah Jahan Mirza, Managing Director, PPIB signed the document on the behalf of government of Pakistan and Sheng Zhendong countersigned the LoI document on behalf of sponsoring consortium.

This run-of-river hydropower project is being set up at the dual boundary of Punjab and AJ&K, with an estimated cost of $1200 million under 2002 policy.

Located at 4-5 kilometres upstream of the confluence of Mahl River with the Jhelum River on the boundary between Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJ&K) and Punjab, the site is 95 kilometres away from Islamabad.

The project was first identified by Montreal Engineering Company of Canada in 1984 and further studied by Hydroelectric planning organisation in collaboration with German Agency GTZ. According to officials after the issuance of letter of interest, the company would apply for the tariff in Nepra. After getting the tariff company would complete financial close, which is the finalisation of financer.

This whole process till the start of construction may take 1-3 years. The date of commencement of the project is 2023, which means if every thing go according to the plan the project would be able to add 590 MW to national grid after nine years. Earlier, while presiding over the 98th meeting of PPIB Board, the Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Asif said that government has decided to expedite the two projects at Thar coal.

These projects include 1200 MW power project by China Power International Holding and 660 MW by Engro Powergen Ltd, said a handout, adding, the Letters of Interest would soon be issued to both the projects.

In board meeting it was also decided to advertise the 350 MW Athmuqam Hydropower Project. This project is located on river Neelum in AJ&K and aim of initiating this project is to renew investor interest in the area.

According to the press release Minister Khawaja Asif, told the board that various power projects have been signed during the recent visit of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to China, and the Chinese companies are eager to invest in Pakistan.

The minister conveyed that the Government of China has committed to create a “green channel” for the fast track investments for the power sector of Pakistan. He dispelled the impression that the hydro projects in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were ignored by the federal government. He said that during the visit of Prime Minister to China, SukiKinari hydro project of 870 MW was also signed.

This project is to be developed at District Mansehra, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He asked PPIB to expediently process the coal and hydel projects and facilitate them for timely completion.