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Abstract

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

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