Tanzania soda ash plant's viability called into question

05 April 2013 17:01  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--The viability of a proposed 500,000 tonne/year soda ash plant near Lake Natron in Tanzania was called into question on Friday by an industry source following the publication of a university report.

A study by the Tanzanian Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) said investing in tourism will return much more benefits than building a plant which could potentially endanger the fauna and flora of the surrounding area.

Opponents of the plant say it is a threat to the lesser flamingo population in the area.

According to a Turkish soda ash producer, the proposed new plant is "completely unnecessary" as there is already a soda ash plant in nearby Kenya, and the quality of the soda ash from the proposed site is questionable, it added.

Following strong opposition from local residents and environmental groups, India-based firm Tata Chemicals backed out of its plans and decided not to build a new plant at the site in 2008.

At the time the plans were shelved by the Tanzanian government but since then it has restarted negotiations with several foreign firms and in January 2013, six firms placed bids for a $500m (€385m) plant, local media reported.

($1 = €0.77)

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By: Janos Gal
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