Hürriyet – Developing Turkey’s massive coal fields in the Afsin-Elbistan district of the Southeastern Anatolian province of Kahramanmaras is the subject of talks between Turkey and China, Turkey’s Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Taner Yildiz revealed.
The coal fields, which hold about 4 billion tons of lignite - nearly half of Turkey’s known total, are projected to cost between USD 10 – 12 billion to develop and exploit, including the construction of a 8000 megawatt thermal power plant.
“Gigantic in size, this project needs to be expertly set-up. We have great expertise in this regard and are currently in talks with China”, Yildiz noted.
An agreement between Turkey and Abu Dhabi was signed for the development of the Afsin-Elbistan coal fields in early 2013 but plans were shelved due to other spending priorities for TAQA, the Emirati company that was to undertake the project. Another Gulf country, Qatar, also expressed interest in the multi-billion dollar project.
The Turkish government has taken steps to bring the country’s vast coal reserves to the attention of foreign energy companies via changes to its investment incentives system, making the use of locally-sourced fossil fuels to fire thermal power plants more attractive.
With all of its domestic coal reserves tapped, Turkey plans to reach a total installed capacity of 120,000 MWs in 2023.