Pollution Obstructs the Path of GHCL Soda Ash Capacity Addition, EIA Puts a Hold on the Project
- 03-Jan-2023 6:11 PM
- Journalist: Nicholas Seifield
The Gujarat Heavy Chemicals Limited (GHCL) proposed setting up an INR 3500 crore greenfield Soda Ash manufacturing facility in the Kutch district of Gujarat (India). The company holds an annual production capacity of 1.1 MTPA for Soda Ash and contributed to nearly 25% of the country's annual domestic demand for the product. As per the trusted sources, with the addition of 0.5 MTPA of additional capacity through the greenfield project, the company will have a total of 1.6 MTPA capacity by the end of 2025.
In December, a union environment ministry panel put a hold on the GHCL greenfield Soda Ash proposal of increasing capacity in Kutch (Gujarat), as the documents showed that the project could lead to increase pollution in the area. The company's plan shows that the project might cause higher levels of air pollution and discharge treated effluents into the Arabian Sea. Therefore, when GHCL submitted its Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report to the central government as part of the environmental clearance process on 24 November 2022, the member secretary of the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC), M. Ramesh returned the proposal to the company asking more project details before allowing to proceed on 7 December 2022. As per the latest insights, the project will go for further discussions only when the EAC receives the correct and requisite documents.
This plant expansion for Soda Ash was aimed at reducing the dependency on imports further and strengthening the country's overall market situation. Improved Soda Ash availability would also support domestic consumers with prices, as it may stop frequent fluctuations. However, Soda Ash prices in India remained stagnant during December 2022 with certain negligible fluctuations, owing to the consistent downstream demand in India. Additionally, the Soda Ash price trend is expected to show a northward movement, owing to the consumption in the solar panel manufacturing industries as a key raw material.
As per the ChemAnalyst prediction, Soda Ash prices will witness an upward trajectory in India, with increasing downstream demand in the glass and cleaning industry, bolstered by healthy economic movement in comparison to other major economies.