Corrected: Tata mulls alternatives to Tanzania soda ash site

18 February 2008 08:21  [Source: ICIS news]

Correction: In the ICIS news story headlined "Tata mulls alternatives to Tanzania soda ash site" dated 18 February 2008, please read in the first paragraph ...Lake Natron... instead of ...Lake Nathan.... A corrected story follows.

SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--India’s Tata Chemicals is exploring alternative locations to its proposed soda ash plant at Lake Natron, Tanzania, even as it awaits environmental clearance for the project, said R Mukundan, the company’s executive vice-president.

Government officials are examining claims from conservation groups that the proposed 500,000 tonne/year soda ash plant could be a threat to the flamingo population in the area.

“We had hoped that the issues would be resolved in 12 months but it is now 18 months with no resolution,” Mukundan added late on Friday.

Though operations at the plant were expected to begin by late 2010, Mukundan insisted: “This was only a tentative date. If we reach the point where approvals have been granted, it would take 48 months to complete the project.”

“We are also extremely concerned about the environment and want to balance the environment with community and economic development,” he added.

The company has presently zeroed in on around three alternative sites in Asia, he added, without disclosing further information.

Another alternative was expanding its Magadi plant in Kenya, which had doubled its capacity to 700,000 tonnee/year two months ago, Mukundan said.

“We would be comfortable with further increasing capacity to 1m tonne/year,” he added.

By: John Richardson
+65 6780 4359

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