PDI’s fast switch from mines to solar and green units

Tak – Within a few days of taking over a solar plant in Tak, Padaeng Industry Pcl (PDI) promptly upgraded the facility while changing the logos and signage to bear its new name.

 Last week IEC Mae Ramat Company officially became PDI Mae Ramat Company Ltd with a capacity of 6.3 MW.

Under a 25-year purchase price agreement (PPA), it has sold power to the PEA (Provincial Electricity Authority) since December 26, 2013. PDI will benefit from the remaining 22-plus years under the PPA with a high “adder” or fixed price incentive.Padaeng Industry Pcl's boss Francis Vanbellen, new,new

 Padaeng Industry Pcl's boss Francis Vanbellen, newAt the same time, PDI has begun work to increase output to maximize sales that will guarantee steady income.

 It is this kind of commitment to efficiency that has won over investors and shareholders. Soon, it is expected to announce strong financial results as rising zinc prices last year has given it higher than expected profits.

The rapid action by this respected name shows just how serious and capable it is about its pledge to switch from being a pure mining operation to green businesses such as renewables, recycling waste and metal extraction.

The speed by which it has transformed itself is unprecedented. PDI managing director Francis Vanbellen says:  “Not many company can do this. It is not easy but we have the fundamental advantage and right mix of know-how to accomplish it.”

Where it has worked well has been in mapping realistic goals and measuring its own manpower capabilities. Vanbellan explains: “We have the advantage because we are a technology-based operation.

“Our team of engineers and technicians are trained and possess the basic scientific know-how in metals and the sciences. In our new fields, such as renewables, waste management and recycling, similar skill sets are needed. The switch over from mining to green operations is therefore easier than if we were say, in tourism or retailing.”

 In short PDi already possesses the capabilities with a core tech-savvy team they can deploy, retrain and head up the respective divisions. Vanvellan says PDI has meanwhile recruited more top engineers and teamed up with industry professionals to realize the goals.

This far, the outlook for success is high with key pillars and agreements signed with respective private and public sector parties.

To be sure, when companies reinvent themselves, the chances are often messy and confusing. Not at PDI, where it is clear cut and goal oriented.

The 477 million baht acquisition marks another step in the deployment of PDI’s renewable energy business after the completion of its first solar venture in Japan. A total of 35MW is targeted from Japanese farms.

 In October last year, the 2.27 MW Nanao plant on main Honshu island was operational, generating 10% above target.

A second solar farm in Nogata (capacity 10.5 MW) is under construction and begin output this year.

Padaeng enters 2017 with a healthy balance sheet and making successful inroads into the new areas, thanks to accomplishments built up over 32 years, when its Mae Sod mine began extracting zinc and other minerals.

Padaeng Industry Pcl's reforestation schemeA landmark moment last year was PDI’s signing with the Industry Ministry’s Department of Industrial Works (DIW) an MOU for the creation of industrial waste management units in April last year.

This was a crucial first step to develop recycling and industrial waste management businesses based on PDI’s advanced technologies.

The development is in compliance with the Ministry of Industry’s five-year National Industrial Waste Management Plan to resolve industrial waste problems countrywide.

PDI’s objective is to create eco-business with emphasis on integrated industrial waste management in Tak and material recycling and recovery in Rayong.

Both projects are joint ventures with world leading companies that have extensive experience in recycling and industrial waste. PDI will deploy advanced and environmental friendly technologies for both projects.

The project in Tak will target industrial waste in the Northern and Western regions.

The project in Rayong is focused on recovery of metals from industrial waste such as EAF dust and various scrap metal, metal and plastic that contain recyclable items.

The waste will be processed using ultra-high-temperature based on innovative proven technologies from leading recycling companies in Europe which have not been deployed yet anywhere in Asia. PDI has gained exclusive rights to deploy such technologies.

With the signing, PDI has moved quickly to form the foundations for both its materials and eco waste-treatment businesses.

 As for its environmental protection and social responsibility obligations, PDI remains a leader in the sector, observing the highest global standards for safety. 

 It has been restoring the Mae Sod Mine, which closed last year, to its pristine forested condition. A chedi and a museum are to be built in honor of the site,

PDI will also reduce its industrial usage of land in Rayong and Tak to adhere to safety and environmental guidelines stipulated by the authorities.  Some factories will be redeveloped to be waste treatment units to avoid new construction.

PDI last year was again recognized for its high CSR standards and received the Social Responsibility Award for Sustainability from the Stock Exchange of Thailand.

PDI will continue to play its part in the private sector Collective Action Coalition against Corruption or CAC.


Top: PDI Mae Ramat Solar Farm in Tak was recently bought for 477 million baht. It is already registering income from power sales to the PEA.

First inset: PDI managing director Francis Vanbellen says the firm is a competent and professional team.

Second inset: PDI volunteers join local communities to plant vetiver grass under a Royal rural project to reforest barren areas in Tak to prevent soil erosion. PDI has won several awards for this CSR campaign.

By Cimi Suchontan


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *