Big Interview

Kungrad Soda Plant: a New Era of Development


     “When I was appointed to a senior position at the Kungrad Soda Plant, I looked through print and online publications, interested in news about the activities of the enterprise. But, unfortunateley, I could not find sensible material either about the work of this plant, or about the successes achieved, or about the existing problems. Information about the activities of the plant was too closed. Then I realized that the work should begin primarily with establishing cooperation with the media and leading sites.”
     These are the words sincerely spoken by the general director of the joint venture LLC «Kungrad Soda Plant» – the only large enterprise in Central Asia for the production of soda ash – Jahongir MUSTAFAEV.
     During the interview, our informant frankly spoke about how many goals he had achieved in the first years of his work as the head of the enterprise, about the processes associated with the withdrawal of the plant from the crisis state, about significant successes that he is proud of today.
     – Jakhongir Ibodullaevich, what issues attracted your attention in the first place when you took the position of general director of the plant, an enterprise that occupies an important place in the chemical industry of our country?
     – I remember that day as it was yesterday… Arriving here, we began our work with a walk through the enterprise together with representatives of the plant administration. It was lunchtime, and I witnessed the sight of hundreds of workers heading home from the plant gates for lunch. In the yard of the plant, on the sides of the path leading to the gate, there was not a single tree, not a single flower, and the road itself was uneven, bumpy. Then I felt with all my heart how abandoned, remote this place was…
     First of all, I undertook to learn the financial condition of the plant. Problems related to loans, marketing, pricing in export operations, the way out of the post-pandemic crisis, unpaid debt to the Ministry of Finance for ten years – all this had to be analyzed in detail. Then a “work flow chart” was quickly developed with measures to accelerate the development of the enterprise.
     – If possible, could you please tell us about what comprehensive measures are these? After all, so far as we are aware, the plant has achieved tremendous success, especially over the past year and a half.
     – In our measures to improve the enterprise, the emphasis was placed primarily on improving the quality of production. So, if the product is of high quality, then the profit is guaranteed. Then they began to move towards expanding the geography of exports, not limiting themselves to the sale of products only by Kazakhstan. In addition, along with the competent distribution of sales revenues, the actual issue was the reduction of production costs. Where we allow excessive costs, where urgent optimization measures are needed, how to use alternative energy sources correctly and efficiently – all these issues were in the focus of our attention. Moreover, reducing the harmful impact of the plant on the environment, ensuring environmental sustainability have become one of the main directions of our “ work flow chart “. We have determined the period until 2030. Now we are building another plant, which will produce an additional 250,000 tonnes of soda per year. At the moment, design work is underway, then the construction process and the order of equipment will begin.
     I must say that by the time I came to the plant, the situation was as that it was impossible to use 100% of the available capacity as a result of the destruction of technological equipment and pipelines for years under the influence of aggressive process fluids and physical wear, and the daily output fell to 470 tons.
     When 51% of the authorized share capital of the plant was sold to a foreign investor, in 2021, 3 million dollars was invested in the plant and major repairs were carried out. As a result, the stability of the production of soda ash was ensured, and the daily production volume was brought to the design 600 tons.
     In order to stabilize the supply of high-quality raw materials, the Salt Refinery Unit was re-launched at the Barsakelmes salt mine, which had not been functionalized since 2015. As a result, the content of insoluble solids in salt decreased from 3.8-4 to 0.9-1 percent. This, in its turn, contributes to an increase in the service life of the main equipment in production, as well as the effective implementation of a new project for the production of caustic soda using modern technologies at Navoiazot JSC.
     Furthermore, in December last year, we repaired and put into operation the salt production shop on the balance sheet of the enterprise, the activities of which were suspended a long time ago. As a result, 12 people are employed, we produce up to 850 tons of purified table salt every month and stably provide it to customers.
     – What other advantages have such rapid efforts given, in addition to reducing the cost of production?
     – Huge losses would have continued if we had not launched the Salt Refinery Unit at the Barsakelmes mine. We have high-profile client as Navoiazot and Ferganaazot, who buy salt in very large volumes. By supplying them with washed crystalline salt, we all derive benefit, and as I mentioned above, they achieve the effective execution of their projects.
     Apart from that, there was a problem with water at the raw material base located in Jamansai, from where limestone is brought. Even for consumption by workers, drinking water was delivered by transport. Experts have calculated that if already washed limestone is brought from the Jamansay quarry, the energy costs for its processing would be significantly reduced. Under the direct leadership of the Head of our state, this problem was solved. We installed water pipes in Jamansay, installed solar panels.
     Consequently, as a result of the measures taken to reduce the cost of production and optimize costs, today our products are sold on the stock exchange with the preservation of the price level of 2021. Competitiveness in the world market is growing, the geography of exports is expanding. In particular, if in 2021 our products were exported to the CIS countries, then this year our products are sold to China, India, Iran, Russia, Belarus, Latvia, Poland and the countries of Southeast Asia.
     In June of this year, as a part of the program for the introduction of renewable green energy sources to reduce the cost of production, solar photovoltaic stations with a capacity of 100 kWh were installed in the department of liquid ammonia storage, in August-September – solar floodlights for the streets of the town of Elabad and the administrative building. As a result, savings of 267.4 thousand kW of electricity per year were achieved.
     At the same time, in order to rationalize the use of existing reserves within the framework of the Decree of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan dated February 13, 2021, a project for the production of soda ash from carbon dioxide was implemented jointly with the joint venture Uz-Kor Gaz Chemical LLC. Investments in the amount of $ 1.7 million have been invested in the implementation of the project.
     On February 10 of this year, after a 72-hour trial work, the project was fully launched, and it further increased the production capacity of the enterprise, allowing to produce an additional 10 thousand tons of soda ash per year. In 2022, within the framework of the project, the production of an additional 6 thousand tons of soda ash will be assimilated. Moreover, as a result of its launch, the carbon dioxide content in technological processes will be brought to 40%, which will lead to an improvement in technological processes, ensuring the stable operation of the main equipment and reducing the consumption of raw materials.
     It is also necessary to note, a redemption of a ten-year debt to the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Uzbekistan. Last year we recovered a loan for $19,473 thousand.
     – According to the data available to us, now about 2 thousand people work at the plant. Isn’t that a small number? Currently, the company is implementing a project to increase the annual production capacity of soda ash to 450 thousand tons, which means that hundreds of new jobs are expected to be created. In this regard, the following question is – what measures are being taken to expand the ranks of the plant’s employees and their social and material support?
You can read the whole interview in the printed version of the magazine.


  • Make an Order

    Make an Order

  • Advertising


  • Contacts

    32, Matbuotchilar Street, Tashkent 100000 Uzbekistan

  • Subscribe To News

    (Русский) Чтобы подписаться на наши новости, впишите свой e-mail
  • Any reproduction or use of excerpts from publications can be made only with the written consent of the publisher; when reprinting materials, a link to the source is required.