India’s GHCL plans 500,000 tonne/year greenfield soda ash unit
MUMBAI (ICIS)–India’s GHCL Ltd plans to invest Indian rupees (Rs)40bn ($483.44m) to set up a 500,000 tonnes/year greenfield soda ash project at Mandvi in Kutch district of western Gujarat state, it said in a statement
The new capacity will help India meet the increasing demand from the sunrise solar and electric vehicle sectors, said GHCL managing director R S Jalan in an official release to the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) on 22 May.
“Work has begun on the greenfield soda ash plant. We should see production from the new plant begin around 2025 or 2026,” a company source said.
The company expects to double the capacity at the greenfield plant in its second phase to 1m tonnes/year by 2030, the source said, adding that the increased capacity will not only help the company meet domestic demand but will also be used for exports.
“Soda ash is a key raw material for manufacturing components vital to India’s clean energy transition. With an existing demand of 4.3m tonnes/year, India imports almost 20% of its soda ash requirement, R S Jalan said in the statement.
India’s total production of soda ash which stands at around 3.6m tonnes/year, must increase by around 300,000 tonnes/year to meet the anticipated 5% annual increase in demand, Jalan added.
While the glass and detergent industries make up nearly 70% of the current demand for soda ash, domestic soda ash consumption will increase over the next few years due to increased uptake from the solar and electric vehicle industries, he added.
Soda ash is a key raw material in the manufacture of solar glass and lithium ion batteries.
“Even as India’s soda ash exports are miniscule, the potential for increase in demand is huge given a series of green initiatives adopted by countries across the globe,” Jalan added.
GHCL currently operates a 1.2m tonnes/year soda ash facilty at Sutrapada, in Gujarat.
Focus article by Priya Jestin
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