In December 28, 2009, HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn congenially went to visit the Vetiver Grass (Vetiveria Zizanioides Nash) Afforestation Project at Padeang Mine-a zinc mine located in Phra That Padaeng Sub district, Mae Sod, Tak Province. The project is aimed at water and soil conservation in accord with His Majesty the King Bhumibhol Adulyadej?s profound thoughts. Padaeng Mine has taken vetiver for use in mitigating soil erosion in the perpendicular areas and other areas where mine activities ended. Vetiver grass is first used as a pilot plant to mitigate and rehabilitate the eroded soil before growing perennial plants, thereby further reviving the once-mine area to become a forest with a balanced and sustainable ecosystem.
On this special occasion, HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn planted some vetiver grass and wild sonneratia (Duabanga Grandiflora) of local species. The Princess, then, went to attend the exhibition at the ground for piling soil. Such ground now becomes a huge mountain of vetiver which is a kind of plants with high endurance and adjustability to its environment. Even in the dry season, its leaves may turn desiccated, but its roots still retain soil moisture. Accordingly, its leaves and clumps can re-emerge in the rainy season. Vetiver can help to hold the sod along the slopes in order to prevent soil removal and destruction. In addition, the grass helps to fill out the sediment from rain that flows through the soil ground, thereby reducing a number of sediment before flowing into the water treatment system according to the environmental standard.
Padaeng Mine has started cropping vetiver grass since 2003. To date, the Mine has produced 13 million clumps of vetiver, encompassing up to 39 species. Padeang Project is a big vetiver afforestation area in the north of Thailand, which has shown a clear success of soil and water preservation in accordance with His Majesty the King?s notion. Annually, the Company has continuously planted 2-3 million clumps of vetiver along with cultivating perennial plants in order to stabilize the mine site and turn it into a fertile forest at the end of the mine project. For such endeavor, Padaeng has allocated its budget amounting to approximately 150 million baht, wishing that, in the future, the mine will turn into a learning center or tourism destination for the community and the general public.