Sustainable Approach to Environmental Management
PDI is determined to be a leader in renewable energy, materials and environmental management businesses. It has, therefore, continued to put emphasis on all areas of sustainable management. It has selected the best technology for use in its various new business projects to protect and reduce the impact on and risks to the local communities and environment.
In 2017, PDI ceased its conventional zinc production operations, which it had carried out for more than 33 years. It evaluated the possible risks and impact on the environment arising from the termination of its zinc business, and managed them appropriately according to the government’s rules and regulations. PDI is confident that the termination of its conventional zinc production will not have any adverse impact on the environment and the communities surrounding PDI’s operations. This is a result of continued strict compliance with environmental standards, including monitoring and evaluation in all of its operating areas.
Last year, PDI continued to monitor and evaluate the quality of soil, water and air, as well as the release of greenhouse gases and the emission of waste. This was to ensure that all processes comply with technical criteria and evaluation standards in line with the relevant environmental laws and regulations.
Air Quality Measured at the Stacks
|Stack||Office||Parameter||Unit||Standard||2017 Monitoring Results|
|Sulfuric Acid Production Process||PDI-Tak||Sulfur Dioxide (SO2)||ppm||< 500||251|
|Casting Process||PDI-Tak||Total suspended particulates (TSP)||mg/m3||< 400||10<1|
Remark : Monitored by SPS Consulting Services Co., Ltd.
Ambient Air Quality
|Parameters||Office||Unit||Standard||2017 Monitoring Results|
|Surfur Dioxide Gas (SO2)||PDI-Tak||mg/m3||< 0.30||0.011|
|Total suspended particulate (TSP)||PDI-Tak||mg/m3||< 0.33||0.0441|
|Total suspended particulate (TSP)||PDI-Mae Sod||mg/m3||< 0.33||0.036-0.155|
|Total suspended particulate (TSP) smaller than 10 micron (PM-10)||PDI-Mae Sod||mg/m3||< 0.12||0.016-0.072|
Remark : 1. 24-hour average atmospheric SO2 standard
2. 1-hour average atmospheric SO2 standard
The majority of PDI’s greenhouse gas emissions arose from the use of electrical and thermal energy from various fuels in the zinc ore smelting process. In 2017, the Company released a total of 63,374 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, a decrease of 71% from 2016 when 156,155 tons of carbon dioxide equivalents were released. Last year, PDI used a total of only 393,687 gigajoules, divided into 372,859 gigajoules of electricity and 20,828 gigajoules of thermal energy from fuels. This was a reduction of 75%, or 1,163,260 gigajoules, from 2016. This was because the Tak Plant ceased its zinc production from October 2017 onwards.
PDI efficiently managed the use of water in its operations by reducing waste and recycling used water. In 2017, the Company used a total of 0.81 million cubic meters of water, approximately 50% of which was recycled into its production process and other areas.
At Mae Sot Mine, the main focus was on managing rain water flowing through the terminated mining area and restoring the environment.
Effluent Quality of Water at the Plant
The treated waste water passed the standard quality test as shown in the table below:
|pH value||-||5.5 - 9||7.56|
|Zinc (Zn)||mg/l||< 5||0.12|
|Cadmium (Cd)||mg/l||< 0.03||0.004|
|Manganese (Mn)||mg/l||< 5||0.33|
|Lead (Pb)||mg/l||< 0.2||0.0006|
|Arsenic (As)||mg/l||< 0.25||0.0003|
|Mercury (Hg)||mg/l||< 0.005||0.0005|
Quality of Mae Sot Mine’s water
Even though Mae Sot Mine ceased its operations since the middle of 2016, PDI still puts emphasis on managing natural rain water flowing through the mining area. Water is forced to flow into the sediment basinsas per specified mining and environmental standards. In 2017, the Company managed rain water so that it flowed naturally and became a water resource for the Learning Promotion Project for Environmental Conversation and Restoration according to His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s Initiative.
There are altogether 11 sediment basins in the mining area, which can support any amount of rain water in each area. In 2017, PDI closed the recycled water ponds of the ore floatation process. It also restored the environment by planting perennial trees throughout the area, which will be developed further into an eco-tourism site. In addition, it assured that water would flow into the sediment tanks. The results of tests of Mae Sot Mine’s waste water showed it was consistent with the standard criteria as shown in the table below:
|Zone A4||Zone B3||Zone C12||Zone D3|
|pH||-||5.5 - 9||-||7.83 - 8.48||-||7.64 - 8.45|
|Suspended Solids: SS||mg/l||< 50||-||0.22 - 39.20||-||2.56 - 12.33|
|Total Dissolved Solids: TDS||mg/l||< 3,000||-||178 - 754||-||128 - 180|
|Zinc||mg/l||< 5||-||<0.01 - 0.33||-||0.05 - 0.41|
|Cadmium||mg/l||< 0.03||-||< 0.01||-||< 0.01|
|Lead||mg/l||< 0.2||-||< 0.05||-||< 0.05|
Remark : 1. Reference the Minister of Industry’s waste water standards.
2. No water was released into the nature
Industrial Waste Management
PDI managed its industrial waste efficiently and appropriately according to the theories and practices of the government units concerned. To achieve this, the 3 R’s principle was used. Waste was separated for convenient and safe management, and was recycled to reduce the quantity of waste and the use of natural resources. In 2017, the quantity of waste totaled 350,437 tons. 95% of this, or 330,342 tons, was mineral waste and was passed through an appropriate and standardized treatment process. The stabilized treated residue was stockpiled in the Tak Plant’s mineral waste pond which was designed and constructed as per the requirements of the Department of Industrial Works and the Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning (ONEP).
A total of 2,078 tons, or 0.6% of total waste, was hazardous waste. This waste was landfilled by an external organization which received a permit from the Department of Industrial Works. As for the waste that could be recycled, a total quantity of 1,163 tons was sold to buyers who obtained permits from the Department of Industrial Works. In addition, 161 tons of general garbage was landfilled directly according to sanitary guidelines.
Mae Sot Mine’s Environmental Restoration
PDI’s Mae Sot Mine covers an area of 2,078 rai. 435 rai of this area was not used for mining activity, whilst the original environment still needs to be maintained. This is 21% of the total project area. The remaining 79%, or 1,643 rai, was used for mining purposes and required environmental restoration after the termination of the mining business. The Company started to restore the environment in 1993 and has continued to do so since then. Even though Mae Sot Mine ceased its production in 2016, PDI continues to restore the environment in the remaining area until everything is complete. After this, the Company will return the area to the Royal Forest Department.
By the end of 2017, PDI had restored a total area of 1,530 rai, or 93% of the target restoration area. It has already spent 110 million baht from the 114-million-Baht Fund for Padaeng Mine Restoration. PDI expects to finalize the environmental restoration plan by September 2018.
Vetivers were planted to cover the soil in order to reduce soil erosion and to improve the soil quality before perennial trees were planted according to His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s initiative. Since the start of the environmental restoration till the end of 2017, PDI planted about 200,000 perennial trees and about 25 million vetivers. This resulted in the Mae Sot Mine being one of the biggest areas of vetiver growth in Thailand. The mine is a model for the use of vetivers to restore the environment. The work led the Company to receive the Green Mine Award for many consecutive years and the King of Thailand’s Certificate of Excellence for promoting the use of vetivers from the Chaipattana Foundation. The award was presented to PDI by Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn in 2015.
Mae Sot Mine is a learning center for environmental restoration and has been visited by personnel of the public and private sectors as well as educational institutions and various local and international organizations.
PDI will gradually transfer the restored area to the Learning Promotion Project for Environmental Conversation and Restoration according to His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s Initiative. The area will be developed further into an eco-tourism site as per His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s speech given to Mr. Asa Sarasin, Chairman of Padaeng Industry Public Company Limited, in 2003.
Managing the Area into a Royally Initiated Project for Sustainability
His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej kindly adopted the Learning Promotion Project for Environmental Conservation and Restoration as one of the royally initiated projects on 24 March 2015. The Department of Royal Forest was the main operator while the Office of the Royal Development Projects Boards acted as the coordinator among all concerned parties to achieve the set objectives.
In 2016, Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn adopted the development approach of the environmentally restored mining area into a nature learning and development center following the report by Mr. Arsa Sarasin, PDI’s Chairman, on the closure of Padaeng’s mining operations in 2016. At the same time, the Chairman requested Her Royal Highness’ permission to present the guest house, the nearby buildings and the development approach of the environmentally restored mining area as a nature learning and development center. The presentation included:
- Natural Resources Conservation Training Center
- Doi Padaeng Zinc Mine Museum
- Senior Citizen Rehabilitation Center
- Local Wild Orchid and Plant Conservation Center
- Vetiver Development and Promotion Center for Soil and Water Conservation
- Eco-Tourism Site and Entertainment Center
Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn visited the area of Tak Province from December 19-22, 2016. During the trip, Her Royal Highness rendered her advice on the project. She said, “Please gather various trees and plants, and create a botanical garden in order to conserve them and use it as a learning center for communities and the interested public.”
As for Doi Padaeng Zinc Mine Museum, which is operated by PDI and is in the process of implementation, the Company has hired a consulting firm for the interior and external architectural design covering the area of about 29 rai. The museum will present exhibits about the history of the area, the local way of life, information on geology, mineral source surveys, the benefits of zinc ore mining and smelting to the country’s development, the full cycle of the zinc mining and smelting process, and the restoration of the mining area into forests according to His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s initiative. The exhibits will be in the form of diagrams, maps, photos, models, exhibits and combined media technologies so that it will be more interesting. Doi Padaeng Zinc Mine Museum will be the center for transferring various kinds of knowledge to children, students and the wider public in general. The museum is expected to be completed in 2018 and will be presented to the Department of Primary Industries and Mines for its future management.
PDI also constructed Phra That Doi Padaeng Pagoda in 2017. More than 80% of the work has been completed. This pagoda is located on the hill where the treated soil from the mining area is kept. It was designed by the 6th Regional Office of Fine Arts, Sukhothai Province. The Buddha statue which will be placed inside and become the spiritual center will be built with the cooperation of the temple and the local community. The pagoda is expected to be completed by March 2018 and will be presented to the Department of Forestry and the Provincial Administration Organization so that both can jointly maintain the area for the public to organize their religious activities and pay respect at Phra That Doi Padaeng Pagoda in the future.