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Tanzania to go ahead with soda ash project in Arusha
Jul '14
Subsequent to the recent discovery of about 4.7 billion cubic metres of brine deposits in Arusha region’s Engaruka Basin, the Government of Tanzania has started an awareness campaign ahead of the anticipated construction of soda ash processing plant, reports East African Business Week.
The public awareness campaign is being carried out by Tanzania’s National Development Corporation (NDC), along with the local government of the Arusha region.
The campaign is aimed at creating a sense of ownership amongst people in the area so that they see the project as theirs.
Soda ash, known chemically as sodium carbonate, is used in textile industry for dyeing cotton and other cellulose fibres such as linen, rayon, tencel or hemp, to increase the pH (alkalinity) of the reaction. The compound is also used in the manufacture of several industrial chemicals, glass and detergent products.
According to the NDC, the leading agency in Tanzania for implementing strategic industrial development projects in partnership with the private sector, the soda ash discovered at Engaruka Basin is of the best quality in the world.
The discovery and exploitation of soda ash in the Engaruka Basin is expected to stimulate the construction industry, boost employment, and lead to infrastructure development as well enhance the standard of living of the people living the area surrounding the proposed project.
The new soda ash project in Engaruka Basin will have an annual capacity of one million cubic metres, and is projected to annually bring nearly US$ 300 million in revenues.
This project, along with the ongoing Lake Natron project would increase Tanzania’s total soda ash production capacity to around 1.5 million cubic metres, surpassing the capacity of Kenya.
Lake Natron is a shallow soda-lake in a closed basin on the floor of the Eastern Rift Valley. It extends 58 km south from the Kenyan border with a mean width of 15 km. On the other hand, Engaruka is a shallow depression in the Rift Valley 50 km north-north-east of Lake Manyara and 58 km south south-east of Lake Natron.

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