A project to build a soda ash plant will be launched in 2013, Belarus Architecture and Construction Minister Anatoly Nichkasov said.

“The new facility will satisfy the demand of the glass industry for soda ash and will also manufacture many other products with higher added value that are in demand in the domestic market,” he said.

The partners for the project will be China, Ukraine and Russia. The project is due for completion in 2015, and will reach full capacity (300,000 tonnes) in 2016.

Mr Nichkasov said that Belarus had signed an agreement on a $219 million buyer loan with the China Exim Bank. The loan will be used for the development of necessary capacities. The Belarusian side shall cover the expenditure on the development of the associated infrastructure.

According to the Ministry, the project is extremely important to Belarus. The country’s glass industry has recently doubled its capacity, which means the country’s demand for soda ash will rise.