Mae Moh Mine is the largest open-pit lignite mine in Southeast Asia, with a total mining area of 9,260 acres and external dumping area of 10,240 acres. It is located 630 kilometers away from Bangkok at Mae Moh district, Lampang province in the north of Thailand. In 1953, an abundant lignite resource was found at Mae Moh basin. That contributed to the project to construct Mae Moh lignite power plants. It produces and supplies lignite to Mae Moh power plants to generate electricity at the comparatively the lowest rate cost. At present, sixteen million tons per year of coal is produced and transferred to 10 units of Mae Moh Power Plants, with a combined total power generation of 2,400 Megawatt.
Mae Moh Mine contains geological coal reserves in the total amount of 827 million tons with the economic coal reserves amounting to 701 million tons while the stripping ratio is 6.09 Bank Cubic Metres (BCM) per ton and a heating value of 2,810 Kilocalories per kilogram.
Mae Moh Mine has implemented and developed mitigation measures to control the environmental impacts from its activities. These measures include the measure
from Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and the Environment Management Program (EMP) of the International standard "ISO 14001".
It has been long confirmed by the environmental monitoring results that they are under the standard and guideline limits. Thus, to support the policy of changing the mine to be an attractive site for visitors, Mae Moh Mine has to strengthen its environmental management as a role model from the polluted area to scenic area.
Mae Moh Mine has also been recognised at the national and international levels as evidenced by the ASEAN Coal Awards 2015 in which Mae Moh Mine received Constructive Energy Awards for the initiation of "The Protection and Control of Floods in Open-pit Mine by Automatic 3-stage Differential Elevation Series-flow Pumping System" and the second runner-up prize in Best Practice of Surface Coal Mining for Its Mining, Mine Overburden, and Coal Transfer taking into account the sustainable and efficient environmental management. Moreover, it was awarded outstanding Enterprise in the category of outstanding innovation for the initiation of "Auto-alignment Equipment for Lignite Conveyor Belt of Mae Moh Mine".
Mae Moh Lignite mining is suitable for Open Pit Mining that is conducted using tools and equipment comprising of excavators, dump trucks and belt conveyor system for soil stripping and dumping into soil dump pit, and Lignite transporting to the designated place for Lignite stocking for supplying to Mae Moh power plant for electricity generating. Mining methods are divided into 2 steps as follows:
Soil stripping is done, using a rotary drill then blasting with ammonium nitrate fertilizer mixed with diesel (AN-FO), after which, soil is extracted by an excavator. Soil seams inserted between lignite seams will be pushed by a tractor and hauled by a wheel loader then transported by a dump truck to a soil grinder before it is transported by belt conveyor system to a dump pit at the West of mine.
Lignite stripping is normally done by a special excavator for Lignite mining. However, for thin coal seams, a tractor will be used to push and wheel loader will be used to haul the coal. When coal is exposed, it will be loaded to dump trucks and transported to feed to the crushing process and then conveyed by belt conveyor systems to designated area for coal stocking before supplying to power plant.
Mining operation at Mae Moh Lignite mine by using coal and soil stripping tools and equipment according to the project plan. Processes are summarized as follows:
1. Top Soil Stripping will be done first
2. Soil blasting is then conducted to loose soil seams
3. Machines are used for extracting seams by seams by removing overburden from mine pit and extracting extra layer of coal seams in order to reserve coal within the mine pit to ensure sufficient supply is removed.
The main policy of EGAT for the communities comprehension to the mining activities and environmental control management, is to make the Mae Moh Mine become a tourist attractive site, with the beautiful scenery, good environmental and knowledge center. The visitors would obviously realized by themselves that Mae Moh Mine is green and clean mine. In order to achieve these, mine reclamation for the recreational purpose, has been conducted that some parts of eastern dumping area have been develop into various kinds of interesting places as follow:
Scenic Point and Mexican Sunflowers Field is an artificial (man-made) mountain of piled soil from mine. mountain, there is the horticulture exposition...Read more
Botanical Garden is a reclaimed area, from a dumping area to be public part decorated with beautiful plants, inside the garden...Read more
Slide Field (Slider) is a verdant grass field which paves to the golf course area. The field is in front of a sightseeing building of the botanical garden.Read more
All of these reclaimed complex areas are used as the attractive place in the popular tourism events of Lampang Province which can help to promote the tourism of the Northern Province of Thailand, especially, Mae Moh Festival 2015 at the Botanical Garden in the compound of Mae Moh Mine, Lampang. This Mae Moh Festival will be usually held during the mid of November which the yellow Mexican Sunflowers were blossom.
According to the visions of EGAT Mae Moh Mine executives, Mae Moh Mine Museum has been established since 2003 with the objectives:
1. To commemorate His Majesty King Rama VII (King Prajadhipok) on his benevolent works.
2. To be the learning center on lignite mining for youth and public.
3. To exhibit the tools, equipment, and technology on mining from the past and show the standardize management system on electricity generating process concerning about environmental and communities care.