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Soda ash

Latest News

  • Kenyan senate seeks outside views on proposed law requiring minerals firms to use local staff, goods

    Thursday, 19 July 2018

    The Kenyan Senate is consulting on proposed legislation that would commit international mining companies operating in the East African country to hire Kenya-based staff and to source supplies locally.

  • Chinese soda ash price edges down on oversupply

    Monday, 16 July 2018

    The price of Chinese soda ash dipped last week amid reports of oversupply following several months when prices were steady or rising.

  • Solvay seeks' fair' pricing before bringing supply to the market

    Monday, 16 July 2018

    Soda ash producers have been grappling with what they consider weak pricing while profitability has been squeezed by higher coal and energy prices. Solvay believes fair price levels are warranted to incentivize investment in new supply if the market is to avoid the type of sharp price increases seen in other mineral markets, such as lithium.

  • Price Briefing: July 5-12

    Friday, 13 July 2018

    Calcined alumina suppliers warn of further price rises in 2019 on widespread shortage; Global iodine spot price strengthens; Chinese carbonate prices drop for second week; seaborne market resists lower bids; Proposal to discontinue four European graphite prices; Ilmenite prices stable amid China’s latest environmental protection campaign; Domestic European antimony trioxide price softens but global markets largely stable; Chinese soda ash prices hold firm for another week, production stable; Chinese TiO2 export prices tick lower; Bauxite, fused alumina prices stable amid concerns of new shutdowns

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Pricing News

  • Chinese soda ash price edges down on oversupply

    Monday, 16 July 2018

    The price of Chinese soda ash dipped last week amid reports of oversupply following several months when prices were steady or rising.

  • Solvay seeks' fair' pricing before bringing supply to the market

    Monday, 16 July 2018

    Soda ash producers have been grappling with what they consider weak pricing while profitability has been squeezed by higher coal and energy prices. Solvay believes fair price levels are warranted to incentivize investment in new supply if the market is to avoid the type of sharp price increases seen in other mineral markets, such as lithium.

  • Price Briefing: July 5-12

    Friday, 13 July 2018

    Calcined alumina suppliers warn of further price rises in 2019 on widespread shortage; Global iodine spot price strengthens; Chinese carbonate prices drop for second week; seaborne market resists lower bids; Proposal to discontinue four European graphite prices; Ilmenite prices stable amid China’s latest environmental protection campaign; Domestic European antimony trioxide price softens but global markets largely stable; Chinese soda ash prices hold firm for another week, production stable; Chinese TiO2 export prices tick lower; Bauxite, fused alumina prices stable amid concerns of new shutdowns

  • Chinese soda ash prices hold firm for another week; production stable

    Friday, 06 July 2018

    Reported factory closures have been dismissed by a Chinese source while prices remain stable for the eighth straight week.

More from Pricing News

Features

  • Eti Soda’s supply myth: how the market never moved to oversupply

    Thursday, 17 May 2018

    Fears that Eti Soda could create an oversupply in the soda ash market and send prices tumbling have not been realized, but questions remain about how the market so readily absorbed the additional tonnages that are being produced, and what will happen next.

  • Growing panes: will smart glass stimulate mineral demand?

    Thursday, 17 May 2018

    As modern architecture increasingly looks to smart glass for its unique, functional and environmentally friendly properties, Industrial Minerals correspondent Cameron Perks takes a look at how this may stimulate demand for glass minerals, as well as certain metal oxides.

  • UNDERSUPPLIED: Soda ash demand outstripping output

    Thursday, 17 May 2018

    It’s a finite balance between supply just meeting demand and moving to an undersupplied market. Demand in the primary end-use market for soda ash - glass - is strong and there is no new soda ash capacity scheduled to come online to meet growing demand, which means the market could be faced with higher prices for the raw material, Michael Greenfield, Industrial Minerals reporter, has found.

  • 2017: The year of the supply squeeze

    Thursday, 14 December 2017

    If 2016 should be remembered with a shudder, then 2017 will be remembered as the year when it became harder to source minerals. The supply situation changed for many minerals in the markets that Industrial Minerals covers, not least because many producers were simply shut down by strict environmental laws in China, or found it harder to source materials due to demand-side challenges, consultant editor Siobhan Lismore-Scott writes.

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Market Brief

Soda ash, or sodium carbonate, can be produced either by mining natural sources or manufactured synthetically using salt and limestone.

About half of the soda ash produced in the world is used in the glass industry for the production of flat glass, container glass, fibreglass and other products.

High exposure to glass markets means that soda ash demand is significantly influenced by the fortunes of the construction and automotive industries.

Supply

China is the world’s largest producer of soda ash with an output of about 23m tonnes in 2011. Production in China has expanded rapidly since 2000 driven by surging domestic demand.

While most of China’s output is consumed in domestic markets, producers there have become increasingly established in export markets.

The world’s second largest producer, the US, is also the largest global exporter, but was been hit hard by the global economic downturn in 2008-2012.

The US soda ash industry is centred at the Green River Basin in north-western US state of Wyoming, where it is mined from natural soda ash, or trona. Producers operating in Green River include FMC, Solvay, OCI and Tata Chemicals.

Leading producers 

ANSAC – US producers including FMC, Tata Chemicals and OCI
Ciech – Poland
Eti Soda – Turkey
Nirma – India
Shandong Marine – China
Sisecam/Sida Sanayii – Turkey
Soda Sterlitamak – Russia
Solvay – Belgium/US
Tangshan Sanyou – China
Tata Chemicals – India

Markets

The 10 leading countries, representing 68% of total U.S. soda ash exports were, in decreasing order and percentage of total, Mexico, 16%; Brazil, 12%; Indonesia, 10%; Canada, 5%; Chile, 5%; Japan, 4%; the Republic of South Korea, 4%; South Africa, 4%; Taiwan, 4%; and the Netherlands, 4%.

The most common application for soda ash is in the glass industry, including flat glass and container glass, which accounts for nearly half of the world’s demand. Soda ash reduces the furnace temperature needed to melt the silica sand used in glass manufacturing, reducing energy costs for the producer.

In 2011, world soda ash production was estimated to be 51.3 Mt, which was a 7% increase from that of 2010. Of the 29 countries that produce natural and synthetic soda ash, the United States was the world’s second-ranked producer, accounting for 21% of total world output. 

Only Botswana, China, Ethiopia, Kenya, Turkey, and the United States produce soda ash from natural sources; the remaining 23 nations manufacture soda ash through various chemical processes, primarily the Solvay process. Total world natural soda ash production represented about 26% of combined world soda ash production.

Flat glass uses – which account for about 39% of soda ash demand – include the production of windows, glass doors and windscreens.

About 51% of soda ash is utilised in container glass, which is used bottles, jars and drinkware.

Soda ash is also used as a raw material in a variety of chemical markets including soaps and detergents, sodium triphosphate (used in food preservatives, cleaning products and ceramics), sodium silicates and zeolites, used as adsorbents.

Demand growth for soda ash is expected to be strongest in China, South East Asia, South Asia, the Middle East and South America.