KARACHI: ICI Pakistan has expanded the capacity of its soda ash production plant by 75,000 tons per annum, said a company notice on Monday.
“We are pleased to announce the successful commissioning and commencement of operations of phase-I of the (overall) 150,000-ton-per-annum expansion project at our soda ash manufacturing facility in Khewra,” Company Secretary Saima Kamila Khan said in a notice to the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) on Monday.
The company’s estimated cost of the expansion (150,000 tons per annum) is $90 million, according to a previous notification.
ICI’s share price decreased 0.75%, or Rs5.95, to close at Rs789 with 1,750 shares changing hands on Monday.
Subsequent to this addition (75,000 tons per annum), the total installed capacity of the soda ash plant now stands at 425,000 tons, she added.
The chemical is used as a builder or filler in the formulation of soaps, detergents, and other cleaning compounds. In the glass industry, it is used to bring down the melting temperature of silica sand (the main raw material of glass). In the paper industry, soda ash is used in the preparation of the sodium sulphite buffer liquid used in the pulp manufacturing process. It even finds an application in the water treatment segment, by adjusting the pH of water when it is acidic, the company’s official website elaborated.
“ICI Pakistan Limited’s soda ash business caters to approximately 70% of the country’s total requirement for this commodity,” the website said, adding it also exports the chemical which is made of indigenous raw material.
ICI Pakistan Chief Executive Asif Jooma added in a statement, “This capacity expansion…[will] further enhance its domestic market share.”
“This will benefit the economy by, both, reducing import costs and earning valuable foreign exchange for the country through increased exports,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 13th, 2018.