Turks, Chinese ally in $1.35 billion project

Turks, Chinese ally in $1.35 billion project

ISTANBUL - Anatolia News Agency
Turks, Chinese ally in $1.35 billion project

Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yıldız poses with representatives of Ciner Group and China’s Tianchen during the launching ceremony for a soda ash facility. DHA photo

A subsidiary of Turkey’s Ciner Group, Kazan Soda Electric, and China’s Tianchen Engineering Group signed a partnership deal Jan. 11 to build the Soda Ash and Cogeneration Facilities, with Energy Minister Taner Yıldız attending the signature ceremony.

Ciner Group CEO Turgay Ciner stated that this investment would make them the top manufacturer of soda ash in the world, adding that it would bring net foreign currency inflows to Turkey by increasing its exports.

These investments aim to raise the company’s exports to $1.75 billion, according to Kazan Soda Chairman Nedim Şener, who highlighted their exports of soda ash and concentrated copper, domestic resources worth $1 billion, in the last four years. The company’s goal is for soda exports, currently $1.3 billion of their total exports, to be worth $1.75 billion.

The company signed a deal with the Transportation Ministry and Turkish State Railways (TCDD) in order to carry 8,000 tons of goods to ports per day via some four trains, Ciner said.

“All of the goods will be exported, including to South America and Australia. We do not have any problems with sales as our products for 2013 have already been sold and 1.1 billion tons of trona [the mineral source of soda ash] reserved.” This agreement targets investments worth $1.35 billion, financed by Chinese banks. The construction of facilities would be completed around 2016 or 2017 and would create employment for 2,200 workers. Soda ash, or sodium bicarbonate, is a raw material used in glass, chemistry and textile industries.

‘Ciner uses opportunity’

Yıldız stated that Turkey draws more foreign investors and financing due to the political stability maintained in the country, adding that Ciner Group was one of the local firms that could benefit from this opportunity.

The minister said this partnership could contribute to sufficiently taking advantage of Turkey’s underground mines, stressing that domestic resources should be encouraged as opposed to imported resources, and that this deal would assist in decreasing energy imports.

The governments of Turkey and the United Arab Emirates recently signed a deal worth $12 billion to jointly develop Turkey’s large coal fields in the south Afşin-Elbistan region at the start of this year.