Cyanide and glycine leaching leader, Draslovka, looks to bring caustic soda production in house

Draslovka a.s. says it is in advanced discussions with technology-driven producers of caustic and chlor-alkali derivatives, including spolchemie, and several other international businesses with an aim of partnering with a producer to build a production facility at the company’s existing site in Memphis, Tennessee, using existing plant infrastructure.

The facility will apply the latest global production technologies to capture sustainability and economic benefits for all stakeholders, according to Draslovka.

Caustic soda is used in the production of Glycine Leaching Technology (GLT), Draslovka’s proprietary innovative leaching solution that, it says, offers substantive cost and sustainability benefits in the process of leaching metals from certain ores (including gold, nickel, cobalt and copper). Caustic soda is also used to produce sodium cyanide, used by the majority of the gold industry for processing.

By building and operating a caustic soda facility in partnership with an internationally-recognised specialist partner in the chlor-alkali value chain, Draslovka seeks to produce caustic soda in the most financially and energy-efficient manner to secure significant sustainability benefits compared with a number of current legacy producers, it says. As the market dynamics of caustic soda pricing can be volatile and US-sourced caustic soda is significantly more expensive than caustic soda from Asia and Australia, the move will allow Draslovka to significantly reduce its costs and improve competitive power. Own production will also give the company enhanced control of its supply chain.

The discussions with partners on expanding into caustic soda production and the chlor-alkali value chain are in line with Draslovka’s strategy of expansion and investment in sustainable processes and solutions, it says. The Memphis plant produces the majority of Draslovka’s mining solutions products and near-term production of GLT is being considered.

Pavel Bruzek, Chief Executive Officer of Draslovka, said: “These discussions are in line with our strategy of offering high-quality, cost-effective and sustainable mining solutions to our valued customers. We always strive to find the most economic supply of ingredients, hence we have begun discussions with several caustic soda manufacturers to partner and produce this integral ingredient. Own production will be a buffer against the macro factors of today, such as geopolitics, inflation and supply chain bottlenecks, as well as the fundamental disconnect between the US and the rest of the world’s caustic soda pricing. Our clients will have peace of mind they are accessing the full range of our sodium cyanide, GLT solutions and other mining products in a timely manner and at advantageous market prices.”

James Stockbridge, Director of Mining Process Solutions, Draslovka, said: “I am excited that the Memphis plant is being considered for the expansion into the production of caustic soda. Caustic soda price in the US is creating major headwinds to our competitive power in the international markets. Draslovka has invested heavily in the technology and process improvement at the Memphis facility since acquiring it in 2021 and we are committed to the area and our community in Memphis. We have a proud history and expertise, and the additional new facilities will allow us to expand our pool of local staff and affirm our leading position in the local business community.”