TURKEY (ETI MADEN): A BORATE-RICH LAND IN THE MEDITERRANEAN
A country endowed with rich natural resources, be it the flora-fauna or minerals and gas, is a boon for its citizens. However, only those who know how to optimally and sustainably make use of those resources, prosper. Mining plays a crucial role in the wealth creation of any economy.
Nestled in the Mediterranean, Turkey is blessed to have substantial reserves of minerals including boron, marble, trona, chromium, and some other industrial raw materials that give ample opportunities for mining, and growth of the economy.
Turkey ranks first globally in terms of its boron deposits. At close to 73 percent share of the total global boron reserves, Turkey’s boron deposits are close to 803 million tonnes, thus making it one of the largest suppliers of boron globally.
The known boron deposits in Turkey are:
- Eskisehir – Kırka
- Kutahya- Emet
- Balıkesir – Bandırma
Tincal, colemanite, and ulexite are the three most important boron minerals that Turkey owns. The location of those reserves are:
- Tincal: Eskisehir – Kirka
- Colemanite: Kutahya – Emet, Balikesir – Bigadic and Bursa – Kestelek
- Ulexite: Balikesir – Bigadic as well as some in Bursa – Kestelek
With a strategic geographical location to its advantage, connectivity with global trade routes, and rich mineral deposits at its disposal, Turkey is a heavyweight in the global minerals space.
Vast boron’s applications as a raw material source in various industries including glass, fiberglass, insulating glass, detergent, ceramics, and agriculture, make Turkey a win-win player in the global scenario.
Turkey ranks second after the USA in terms of boron production. The country uses eight percent of its boron minerals domestically while exporting the rest.
Turkey’s exports of commodity group 2810 “oxides of boron and boric acids” totaled $1.75 million in 2019, a report by TrendEconomy reported. Top export destinations of “oxides of boron; boric acids” from Turkey during the period were the USA (69 percent share), Sweden (18.8 percent), United Kingdom (4.46 percent), Iran (3.97 percent), Spain (1.2 percent), India (1.18 percent), apart from Russia and Morocco. https://trendeconomy.com/data/h2?reporter=Turkey&trade_flow=Export,Import&partner=World&indicator=TV,YoY&time_period=2008,2009,2010,2011,2012,2013,2014,2015,2016,2017,2018,2019
ETi MADEN: THE TURKISH BORON GIANT
While the mining potential of Turkish lands possessing the largest boron reserves of the world date back to 7000 BC, it was only in the last century that the reserves were optimally mined for the growth of the economy.
After the proclamation of the Turkish Republic, the republic founder Gazi Mustafa Kemal Atatürk established Etibank in 1935 with the purpose of “operating and making use of the underground resources of our country, to produce the mines, raw materials, energy and all kinds of banking treatments that our industry needs”. With the restructuring in 1998, it was named Eti Holding A.Ş., and yet another restructuring in January 2004, it was named Eti Maden İşletmeleri Genel Müdürlüğü (Eti Mining Operations General Directorate).
Eti Maden, the state-owned entity, is in complete control of mines, processes, and exports of borate products in Turkey. Serkan Keleser is the Chairman of the Board and General Manager at Eti Maden.
With Law No. 2840, the task of producing, operating, and marketing boron and boron products in Turkey is carried out by Eti Maden.
Eti Maden is the biggest borate producer and market leader in the world and has committed to make use of the global 73 percent boron reserves it possesses with the most efficient methods and to supply them to international markets.
In 2007, Orhan Yilmaz wrote an article on “Boron in Turkey: Between Myth and Reality” in Insight Turkey. He had then said: “Turkey, with the Eti Maden, a wholly state-owned company, has become the leader in the boron business not only in terms of its reserves but also in production, sales, and profitability since 2005. The primary target now is to make Turkey, the leader of world boron business, and an emerging terminal where energy lines intersect, a production base in the sectors identified in growth strategies.”
Eti Maden has borate mines and production facilities that are spread across Turkey. Eti Maden was ranked 15th in Turkey’s 1000 Largest Exporters list for 2016 and ranked 14th in exports made to most countries among 90 companies.
Eti Maden’s mission is to offer the mineral resources of Turkey, its boron mines in particular, to the benefit of humanity by evaluating them with the sustainability approach.
Eti Maden produces and supplies Borax Pentahydrate, Borax Decahydrate, Boric Acid, Etidot-67, Boron Oxide, Zinc Borate, Calcine Tincal, Anhydrous Borax, Ground Colemanite, and Ground Ulexite to domestic and international markets.
Eti Maden’s total refined boron production capacity for 2017 is about 2.7 million tons, as per the company website. https://www.etimaden.gov.tr/en/kirka
In 2007, the then Eti Holding’s boron reserves were high in tenor and quality, and that 60% of the boron reserves were sufficient to supply 250–500 years of the world’s boron consumption, reported an article “Boron Minerals in Turkey, Their Application Areas and Importance for the Country’s Economy” by Yakup Kar, Nejdet Sen and Ayhan Demirbas.
In December 2020, Eti Maden inaugurated the country’s first lithium production plant, located in the Eskisehir province. The plant, which will produce lithium out of liquid waste generated during boron production, is expected to lower Turkey’s lithium imports by $20 million (16.4 million euro) per year. https://seenews.com/news/turkeys-eti-maden-inaugurates-lithium-production-plant-report-726097
Eti Maden Operations General Directorate provides a direct contribution to many sectors by producing highly productive boron products in its facilities of world standards.
It is a global boron giant that operates in mining, metallurgy, chemistry etc. industries with Bandırma Boron and Acid Factories (Balıkesir), Kırka Boron Works (Eskişehir), Emet Boron Works (Kütahya), Bigadiç Boron Works (Balıkesir), Bandırma Logistics unit, overseas agencies and affiliates, respectively.