Tata Chemicals North America (TCNA) has been mining and processing trona ore, a mineral that contains soda ash, at Green River, Wyoming since 1968. The Green River facility is located on the 'mile high' prairies of southwestern Wyoming, home to the world's largest reserves of trona ore. Here, more than 60 billion tonnes of trona can be found extending over 1,000 square miles at depths of up to a third of a mile.
TCNA's manufacturing facility consists of an underground trona mine and a surface refining plant that processes the ore into soda ash. The facility is located about 40 miles west of Rock Springs and 175 miles northeast of Salt Lake City. It operates around the clock, seven days a week, 365 days per year.
The company mines more than 4.5 million tonnes of trona ore per year.
The estimated recoverable trona ore reserves consist of approximately
600 million tonnes, enough to provide approximately 100 years of reserves based on current approximately.
The mine has an underground tunnel network spanning 20-plus square miles. Personnel and equipment enter the mine via a hoist that descends the 1,600 feet to the mine in two-and-a-half minutes. Open four-wheeled vehicles provide transportation throughout the mine and to the production faces.
The surface plant converts trona ore to soda ash in a multi-step purification process. First, the trona ore is precision crushed and screened to prepare it for processing. View image
The crushed trona is heated in a kiln to drive off unwanted gases. This heating process transforms the ore to crude sodium carbonate. Water is added to dissolve the crude sodium carbonate and the resulting solution is filtered to remove impurities. View image
Water is then evaporated from the purified solution to form soda ash crystal slurry. Any remaining water in the slurry is separated from the soda ash crystals in a centrifuge. The soda ash crystals are then sent to rotary driers. View image
After screening, the finished soda ash is stockpiled in storage bins before it is loaded for shipment via truck and railcars. View image