Coal (which for the purpose of this chapter includes lignite) has been produced in Thailand for over a century and until the late 1970s remained at a modest level, not exceeding one million tonnes per year. However, production grew rapidly from about 1979, reaching a plateau rate of about 20 million tonnes per year, but peaking at over 22 million tonnes per year in 1997. By the end of 2000 cumulative coal production had reached over 245 million tonnes and the Thai Government estimated remaining reserves at 1372 million tonnes (Mineral Fuels Division 2001). The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) reported in its 2009 annual report that power generated from domestically-mined coal accounted for 19.77% of the country’s total electrical power consumption in that year.
Coals occur in the Carboniferous, Jurassic-Cretaceous and Tertiary of Thailand (Fig. 14.1). The Jurassic-Cretaceous coals occur widely in the Phra Wihan Formation of the Khorat Group in some north-eastern provinces, such as Sakhon Nakhon, Kalasin and Nakhon Ratchasima, mainly as coalified stumps of tree trunks. However, these coals are economically unimportant and so only the Carboniferous and Tertiary coals are described in this chapter.
Carboniferous coals were formerly mined in Na Duang District (Loei Province) and were also mined in Na Klang District (Nong Bua Lamphoo Province, formerly part of Udorn Thani Province), both in NE Thailand.
Tertiary coals have always been the most important economically. Seams range from less than 1 m thick up to 25 m thick or
Figures & Tables
The Geology of Thailand
This is the first volume in the English language to cover the entire range of the geology of Thailand since the joint Thai—US account by Brown et al. exactly 60 years ago. Over this period there has been a phenomenal growth in interest in this core area of SE Asia. This has been led by geologists in Thailand, but with important and highly significant input from geologists based elsewhere in Asia and in Europe, Australasia and North America. Some of that research was prompted by commercial considerations, since Thailand has important energy and mineral resources, while other research has sought to understand better the stratigraphic and structural history, including the plate-tectonic story which Thailand's rocks reveal. This new volume seeks to bring together all of this knowledge into a single accessible book; it is the work of an international team drawn from Thailand, Japan, Australia, USA, Canada, Germany and the UK.