Mining and Manufacturing
Trona mining and processing is an economic mainstay of the communities of southwest Wyoming. Collectively, ANSAC's member companies operate four plants along the Green River Basin. The mines and processing plants operate 24 hours per day, year-round, and employee a significant number of the people working in the area, contributing over $300 million annually to the local economy.
Trona is mined using electric mining machines, usually a bore miner or continuous miner to remove the trona ore. After mining, the ore is transferred, via shuttle car and conveyor to skips for transport to the surface.
Once on the surface, the raw trona is converted into usable soda ash via a multi-step purification process:
- The trona ore is precision crushed and screened.
- The sized trona ore is heated in calciners to eliminate unwanted gases and transform it into crude sodium carbonate.
- Water is added, to dissolve the crude sodium carbonate, and the resulting solution is filtered for purification.
- The water is evaporated out, leaving a soda ash crystal slurry.
- The slurry is centrifuged to separate any remaining water from the soda ash crystals.
- These soda ash crystals are dried in rotary driers before being sent to storage bins, ready for shipment.