Botswana Ash (Pty) Ltd commenced mining operations in April 1991. The Company, which produces soda ash and salt was established at a cost of P736 million, with an additional P100 million investment allocated for supporting infrastructure development in Sowa township. The company, which is a 50/50 partnership between the Government of Botswana and Chlor-Alkali Holdings (Pty) Ltd, conducts all operational activities from production through to marketing and sales of soda ash and salt.
Soda ash (or sodium carbonate) has extensive application across a wide range of industries. It is used primarily in the manufacturing of glass, detergents, paper, chemicals, and has several applications in metal refining, particularly chrome and vanadium. Approximately 70 % of the soda ash produced at Botswana Ash is used for the production of both container and flat glass in South Africa.
Salt products are sold primarily within South Africa and other parts of Southern Africa including Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi and DRC. The current production capacity of the mine for soda ash production is 300 000 tonnes and 700 000 tonnes for salt (per annum).
A process flow indicating the production of salt and soda from brine is presented below:
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