USA: soda ash output up 10% in 2005

The value of soda ash produced in the United States in 2005 rose more than 10% year-on-year, but the sector continued to face strong competition from China“s synthetic soda ash.
Four companies in so…

The value of soda ash produced in the United States in 2005 rose more than 10% year-on-year, but the sector continued to face strong competition from China“s synthetic soda ash. Four companies in southwest Wyoming comprise the majority of the US soda ash industry, which accounted for 35% of global soda ash production in 2005, according to an industry report. In 2005, the companies produced 11.1 million tons of soda ash, up from 10.8 million tons in 2004. The value of the soda ash produced by the four Wyoming firms and a small operator in California went up from USD 820 million in 2004 to USD 905 million in 2005. Dennis Kostick, a soda ash analyst with the US Geological Survey, predicted that domestic demand for soda ash would continue to increase slightly. He said global demand is expected to grow 1.5% to 2% per annum for the next few years. The trend in soda ash prices has been upward for the past year, he said. In June 2005, FMC Wyoming Inc. restarted its Granger soda ash plant, which had been inactive since 2001 due to high energy costs. The plant has been producing at an annual rate of 200,000 tons. Kostick said the expected increase in soda ash demand, particularly for automotive and building glass, prompted the decision to restart the plant. China became the world“s soda ash leader in 2003 and ranked number one again in 2005.