A total of 282 people attended this year’s IHS Markit World Soda Ash conference, which is an all time high.

Delegates came from 120 companies and 40 countries to the annual event, which was this year held in Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Visitors came from countries including China, USA, Australia, Brazil France, UK and Turkey.

They heard presentations from 15 speakers during the two-day conference as well as several panel discussions.

Television series Game of Thrones is filmed in Dubrovnik and opening speaker Marguerite Morrin, Senior Director, Soda Ash at IHS Markit (pictured) presented a paper titled Global Soda Ash, Game of Thrones.

Turkey is set to add 3 million metric tonnes of new natural soda ash to the industry before the end of the year, which is the single largest capacity increase outside of China the sector has ever witnessed.

“The whole idea of the Game of Thrones is about Power, competition and ambition and the ultimate aim is to gain influence and exceed to the throne. As Turkey adds this 2.5mt of low cost capacity we witness our very own Game of Thrones unfold,” Ms Morrin said.

She described Turkish natural soda ash manufacturer Ciner as a new challenger to the industry’s Game of Thrones. The company has 6.5 million tonnes of production capacities with its Ciner Resources, Eti Soda and Kazan Soda groups.

It is expanding its distribution network across Western Europe and supplies many parts of the rest of the world.

Ms Morrin said: “Who will relinquish their market share for Ciner to get established in this throne?”

Ciner’s Vice President of its Glass and Chemical Group, Sinan Solaklar, next presented an overview of the group. It is expanding its railway network in Turkey, constructing a 14km line that will connect its Kazan Soda hub and allow carriages to transport soda ash to Derince port.

The tender will be floated in the next month and construction completed by the end of 2018. It is also constructinog five new ships to transport soda ash from its facilities.

Further presentations over the following two days were from companies including the Chinese Soda Industry Association, Solvay, Knauf Insulation and Botswana Ash.

A review of the event will appear in a forthcoming issue of Glass international.

The next soda ash conference will take lace in Xi’an, China in September 2018. Further details will follow.