The World Soda Ash conference took place last week with keynote speakers including glassmakers Şişecam, NSG and Ardagh.

The event was the largest World Soda Ash conference in 10 years with over 300 attendees and 20 speakers from approximately 35 countries and 200 companies.

Şişecam highlighted its $4 billion natural soda ash investment (Pacific Soda) in the United States with Ciner Group.

The investment will see Şişecam manage 10 million MT per year of global soda ash production, which is expected to make the manufacturer the largest natural soda ash producer in the United States.

Marguerite Morrin, Executive Director of Chemical Market Analytics, also gave a speech on the global outlook of soda ash.

She said: “The soda ash market this year has been the tightest we’ve ever seen. We’ve seen some of the highest prices on record – I’ve heard spot prices as high as $1000 per MT, something unheard of for this industry.”

She said recent events such as the pandemic, the Russia-Ukraine war, the risk of global recession and climate change had impacted the market.

The themes of the conference were volatility, uncertainty and sustainability with several companies announcing plans for more sustainable soda ash production.

Solvay will pilot a new soda ash manufacturing process at its plant in Dombasle, France which will cut its CO2 emissions by 50%.

The technology, based on electrochemistry, will preserve natural resources by using 20% less water and salt, 30% less limestone consumption and eliminate limestone residues.

A full review of the conference will be available in the November edition of Glass International.