Freiberg's Mining Students Experience Mining Industry in Thailand and Laos
Starting from Chiang Mai in northern Thailand, the group first travelled to the Mae Moh open-cast mine and power plant. Here, the Thai electricity company EGAT operates an open-cast lignite mine, using state-of-the-art power plant technology with flue gas desulfurization and fine dust separation to produce 2,400 MW of electricity. The project will run until 2051, and the group used the excursion to evaluate the excellent remediation, water management and environmental monitoring systems in Mae Moh.
The Hongsa open cast lignite mine in Laos was another destination on the excursion. Completed in 2015, the power plant there produces approx. 1,800 MW of electricity (primarily) for EGAT. Modern storage technology and control rooms from European manufacturers were among the interesting features of the visit. The Mae Moe and Hongsa opencast mines use subcontractors for production and operate modern bucket wheel excavators and crusher belt systems, among other technologies.
Another energy project in Laos is the Xayaburi Dam on the Mekong river, which will generate 1,285 MW of electricity from eight turbines. The project is scheduled to go online next year and will export most of the electricity to Thailand. The excursion participants received answers to their questions concerning the control of sediments and the issue of fish migration. A quarry and a concrete plant with a production capacity of up to 400 t/h were built for the construction project.
Another destination in Thailand was a limestone quarry where the company SCG produces cement and mineral aggregate products. Approx. 12 million metric tonnes of rock are mined here each year by open cast mining, whereby the mining of the deposit takes place in such a way that the outer slopes of the mountain are retained to preserve the landscape. Environmental protection, remediation and public acceptance also play an important role in this open-cast mine, while modern technology is applied in planning and surveying, e.g. with drones. A modern conveyor system from Germany connects a new open-cast mine with a crushing plant at the old site.
During their visit to the mining institute at the Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, the excursion participants gained an insight into the level of training as well as into the university's cooperation efforts internationally and with industry, with the university inviting significant numbers of exchange students. The visit to the university was rounded off with tours of the laboratory for processing technology and of the campus.
In addition to the technical aspects, the students also had time to get to know the country and its people.
"All of the projects the students experienced serve the basic needs of a growing population and the economy in the region – namely infrastructure and energy. This is carried out in accordance with UNESCO's Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development," said the excursion leader, Prof. Carsten Drebenstedt, when discussing the excursion destinations. The excursion was organized with the support of graduates of TU Bergakademie Freiberg that now work at partner universities in Thailand and Laos.