Sarawak Energy Builds On Its Community Investment Effort In Mukah

The energy development corporation aims to give back in a sustainable manner

KUCHING, 24 JANUARY 2017, TUESDAY: Sarawak Energy is looking into rolling out a structured community investment programme in Mukah over the next five years as it advances its generation plans to harness coal resources in the area. 

The energy development corporation hopes to do this in an integrated manner in collaboration with its project contractors and other key stakeholders by focusing on education and young people, environmental management and conservation, culture and heritage and community development and entrepreneurship. 

Sarawak Energy Resources Sdn Bhd Chief Operating Officer David Lawrence said the corporation wants to support the local communities in a responsible and sustainable manner by developing a long term partnership that meets the communities’ needs. 

He said this when attending a Stakeholders and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Night held recently in Mukah in conjunction with the Balingian Energy Minerals (BEM) Coal Stockyard and Associated Infrastructure Works Project Team meet. The event which also featured teambuilding activities and donation presentations to three schools in the area was jointly organised by Hock Peng Furniture and General Contractor Sdn Bhd and Sarawak Energy.

Mr. Lawrence said: “Learning from experience when dealing with communities affected by our projects, we want to provide the kind of support that will improve the standard of living and socio-economy of the communities in Balingian in a sustainable manner; focusing on capacity building through the provision of skill training for the youth and assistance to the schools among others.” he added.

He said this would prepare and enable the communities to take up the jobs that would be made available following the development of coal resources in the area or even by other industries within the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy. 

“We expect more than 500 direct employment opportunities to be created with additional business opportunities that can be potentially tapped by the residents. From the onset, we intend to maximise local content whereby about 85% of the work shall be awarded to local contractors and this is in addition to the business opportunities created from the Balingian Coal-Fired Power Plant project whereby 45% will be undertaken by local contractors,” he said.

Aside from this, coal resource development at Balingian is set to spur infrastructure growth like access roads and other basic amenities within the area.

Sarawak Energy was awarded three General Prospecting Licenses to explore coal in the Balingian area. Sarawak has around 1.5 billion tonnes of coal resources and Sarawak Energy plans to use 5.4million tonnes of locally mined coal per year to generate power from its modern, low-emission coal-fired power plants. 

The coal mines will also supply for 25 years the Balingian Coal-Fired Power Plant which is in the midst of construction; expected to be completed in first quarter of 2018 with the first power expected by the end of 2017. A special feature of this plant is that it has the first and largest Circulating Fluidised Bed boiler in the South East Asian region, designed to improve the environmental footprint of coal fired power generation and  leverage on Sarawak’s indigenous coal reserves in an environmentally-friendly way. 

In addition, Sarawak Energy will be making use of improved mining practices and mine planning techniques to optimize coal recovery and ensure long term sustainable coal resource development for Sarawak power generation.

A group photo at the coal stockyard project site office.

Mr Lawrence (left) checks on the work progress at the coal stockyard project site.