While Turkey’s Eti Soda A.S. is to commence work on expanding natural soda ash production capacity at Beypazari, 80 km north-west of Ankara, its majority partner, Ciner Group has started a major development at the nearby Kazan trona deposit, having recently acquired the reserves from Rio Tinto Plc.
Sinan Solaklar, sales and marketing director for Eti Soda, told IM, "We shall become a crucial player in the soda ash market once our projects are finished."
Eti Soda is expected to start work this month on expanding its soda ash plant capacity from the existing 1m. tpa capacity, 10 1.7 m. tpa dense soda ash, in addition to 100,000 tpa sodium bicarbonate.
The Beypazari expansion is scheduled to be operational in 2013.
In 2010, its first year of production, Eti Soda, a joint venture between privately owned Ciner Group (74%) and state owned Eti Maden ( 26%), already put down a significant marker in the European soda ash supply market by meeting its forecast output of almost 1m. tpa of natural dense soda ash and 100,000 tpa of sodium bicarbonate.
“2010 was a very important year for us to get the product right. Customers are now convinced that we are a reliable source of soda ash for Europe and the Middle East,” said Solaklar.
Only the USA and China mine trona for soda ash, and natural soda ash production has a distinct processing cost advantage over synthetic soda ash production through the Solvay process.
Eti Soda is exploiting the world’s largest trona deposit, hosting some 237 m. tonnes with an average grade of 85% trona although recent exploration drilling is expected to reveal an increase in reserves using a unique multi-well solution mining system.
Kazan pilot by end-2011
Ciner Group strengthened its position in the soda ash supply market by acquiring the huge Kazan trona deposit reserves from Rio Tinto Plc in January 2011 for an undisclosed sum.
Covering an area of 20 km2, about 50 km from Beypazari, and 35 km north-west of Ankara, the Kazan deposit hosts a resource of some 800-900m. tonnes of trona.
Studies conducted by Rio Tinto revealed 607m. tonnes of economic reserves grading 31% trona, including 61m. tonnes of mineable reserves.
Construction work on the pilot plant, already well underway, is expected to be complete by the end of 2011.
Subject to further test work, Ciner will start the first-phase of construction on a 1m. tpa soda ash plant in 2012, concluding for start up in 2014. A phase-two expansion to 2m. tpa is also planned, expected ready for start up in 2015.
The Kazan operation is also planned to have a 200,000 tpa sodium bicarbonate production capacity.
Source: Industrial Minerals