Exports of Wyoming soda ash were up the first half of this year.
Wyoming Mining Association Executive Director Marion Loomis says Wyoming usually exports about one-third of its soda ash, but production is up, and now half is going to Mexico, Canada and Asian and South American countries.
Loomis blames the suffering US economy for the lack of domestic demand for soda ash, which is used to make glass, detergents and home building products.
“Just the lack of construction and new housing, and… Cars are coming back a little bit. But when the economy goes down, the need for basic raw materials goes down.”
Loomis says trona mining jobs remain stable and Wyoming doesn’t lose tax revenue or royalties when exporting soda ash. Still, he says, domestic demand is good for the state.
“Certainly if we can make the products here, like we do with taking the soda ash and making sodium bicarbonate or baking soda out of it here, then that adds jobs into our economy.”
Loomis says soda ash is a valuable commodity, and Wyoming will need to continue to pursue markets offering the best return on the product.