India’s glass industry and raw materials
suppliers are expecting a turnaround in the sector, which has
been languishing for the
past three years, delegates at Glasspex India heard at the end
The event, an international show on the glass industry, took
place at Greater Noida, near New Delhi and was attended by
about 4,150 trade visitors.
Producers attending the event told IM that
they were expecting an uptick in consumption as construction
markets start to pick up.
With an installed capacity of 3.1m tpa, Indian soda ash
producers have been facing sluggish demand from the glass
Soda ash, constituting about 75% of total raw material
costs, is produced almost exclusively in the state of
The largest producer is Tata Chemicals Ltd (which is also
the world’s second-largest producer of soda ash),
which has soda ash plants across India in Gujarat, as well as
internationally in the US, UK and in Kenya – the
trona-producing Magadi operation which was mothballed in 2014,
but was brought back into production in the latter half of
Tata Chemicals has synthetic soda ash production capacity of
900,000 tonnes but annual output is estimated at 820,000 tonnes
It holds a 6% share of the global market and 70% of its
product is natural soda ash.
Synthetic soda ash and sodium bicarbonate are manufactured
using the Solvay process at Mithapur, India and Northwich, UK,
while the other plants produce natural soda ash (trona).
In February IM learned that Tata plans to
increase its synthetic soda ash production capacity in India by
more than 40% in 2020.
The company will add another 500,000 tonnes of capacity to
meet growing domestic demand.
Soda ash producers hit by sluggish glass
Detergent is the biggest end-use market for soda ash in
India, and accounts for 39% of the total consumption. Glass
production follows as the second biggest market at 29%, while
chemical applications is ranked third at 14-15%.
Lower-than-expected growth in all the segments of the glass
industry has had an adverse impact on the soda ash industry in
past few years. As the glass industry accounts for almost a
third of the soda ash produced in India, low growth in the
industry has affected all the major producers.
|Glass half empty?
India’s producers say that the glass
industry is looking up, delegates at Glasspex
which was held in Delhi and attended by about
Similarly, miners and processors of other important
non-metallic minerals, such as feldspar, silica sand and
quartz, are also waiting with bated breath for a turnaround in
glass production in the country.
Feldspar is mined mainly in the states of Rajasthan (64% of
total production), Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. Silica sand
production is concentrated in the regions of Haryana (about
28%), Rajasthan (15%), Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh (13%
each). Quartz deposits in the country are concentrated in the
states of Andhra Pradesh (32%), Karnataka (26%) and Rajasthan
More than 130 companies from 16 countries participated in
the event. Besides India, there were exhibitors from Germany,
Austria, Belgium, China, Czech Republic, Finland, France and