Boron and its derivatives have been on the play for centuries. It was discovered that Boron salts were first used in Tibet four thousand years ago, subsequently with Babylonians using it to melt artefacts, Egyptians to mummify, and Ancient Greeks and Romans to spread on arena floors for cleaning. In 875, it's the Arabs that manufactured drugs from boron salts for the first time.
The rise of Modern Boron Industry dates back to the 13th century when Marco Polo brought boron to Europe from Tibet. In 1771, sassolite presence was discovered in thermal water springs around Italy's Tuscani region. In 1830, boric acid production was started in Italy. During the same period, maiden industrial borax mining started in Chile in 1852. When deposits in Nevada, California, Caliko Mountain and Kramer were discovered and processed, USA turned out to be the top boron supplier around the globe.
In Turkey, the first boron mining plant is known to start operating when a 20-year concession was granted to a French company in 1865 by virtue of the Maadin Nizannamesi enacted in 1861.
Boron History in Anatolia
The estimated history of boron ores in Turkey dates back to the era of the Eastern Roman Empire.
First boron deposits were encountered in the Sultançayırı region within the Susurluk district of Balıkesir. The ore is a calcium salt and was processed as pandermite by international companies for long.
In 1861, the first “Maadin Nizannamesi” was enacted accordingly the French company “Desmazures” was granted the Borax Mining Concession in 1865. In 1887, the English Borax Consolidated Co. Ltd. settled in the region and it kept mining till 1958 on the strength of a mining concession.
Till 1927, 624 international companies were granted mining concessions, but most of them were nationalized in 1944, and no new concession was given to foreign funds.
In 1935, state-owned enterprise like Etibank and MTA obtained exploration licenses under the laws no 2804 and 2805, and extended their exploration focus after World War II.
In 1950, Colemanite deposits were found in Bigadiç on the Mustafa Kemal Paşa region, and MTA's lignite surveys in the Emet-Kütahya region revealed colemanite reserves around Hisarcık and Hamamköy. Two years later, mining concessions for these deposits were transferred to Etibank in 1958.
The owner of borax deposits in the Balıkesir region, England's Borax Consolidated Co. Ltd., recognized the growth in borax deposits and started to acquire Kırka-Sodium salt deposits from private miners in 1965 to mine them under the brand Türk Boraks. Due to legal flaws in mine transfer procedures, the Turkish Borax's concession dropped in favour of Etibank starting from 1968. Etibank launched background schemes in 1969 and proceeded with the set-up of facilities in 1970.
Initially mined by foreign enterprises, our boron mines were passed to the control of Etibank and various small-scale local companies when concessions for aliens were transferred to the state in 1968. Following the decree favouring boron mining by the state in 1978, all mining, investment, production and marketing processes have been entrusted to Etibank (today, Eti General Directorate for Mining).
Throughout the 30-year period following the decree for nationalization, important improvements in mining and subsequently the production of refined boron products are on the stage. Current findings reveal that our boron reserves that were known to be around 600 million tons in 1978 now mark 3 billion tons. Exploration of new reserves is currently conducted by the Eti Mining Company and MTA (General Directorate of Mineral Research and Exploration) alliance. Our production capacity has scored a consistent growth over the years, our market share jumped to 47% today from 16% in 1970s, even outdistancing the States driven by the progressive rise of our presence in the global boron market.
1702 Boric Acid was produced in Italy for the first time on laboratory scale
1830 First boric acid production in Italy
1852 First commercial boron mining in Chile
1861 The First Ottoman Mining Law was enacted
1864 First commercial boron production in California
1865 The company Compaigne Industrielle Desmazures was granted with the mining right for calcium borate, called pandermite, in the Aziziye/Susurluk region, triggering the start of first boron mining in Turkey, the company set up a borax refinery plant in France to process the Turkish-origin mineral
1872 First ulexite ore was discovered in Nevada and California followed by production
1881 Death Valley Borax reserve was discovered
1885 The Borate / Kaliforniya boron reserve was discovered, start of the "Twenty Mule Team" era
1887 Compaigne Industrielle des Mazures was granted with the mining right for the Aziziye reserve for a 50-year period
1887 The company Charles Hanson & Co. starts to mine the Sultançayır reserve
1887 England's The Borax Company acquires the majority interests of Compaigne Industrielle des Mazures in the Aziziye reserve
1899 Borax Consolidated Limited (BCL) was incorporated
1899 BLC acquires the mining sites owned by Desmazures
1913 Kramer Boron deposits were discovered (The 1st World War period, USA is the top borax producer with 110,000 t/y)
1935 Etibank and MTA was set up for mine exploration and mining operations in Turkey
1951 Private companies start to mine the Bigadiç Kolemanit reserves
1954 BLC incorporates Türk Boraks Madencilik A.Ş. to enhance mining operations in Turkey
1954 The Sultançayırı mine was shut down
1958 First ore derived from Etibank's Emet deposits
1959 Turkey exports its first ore
1960 Türk Boraks Madencilik A.Ş. and its Turkish partners discover the Kırka Sodium Borate deposits
1964 Etibank starts up its first facility boasting a borax decahydrate capacity of 20,000 t/y
1968 Etibank starts up its first boric acid facility boasting a capacity of 6,000 t/y
1968 All mine exploration and mining rights of Türk Boraks Madencilik A.Ş. are transferred to Etibank by virtue of the Cabinet decision
1975 The Sodium Perborate Facility in Bandırma starts up
1978 All mining rights for Boron reserves are granted to Etibank by virtue of the law no 2172
1984 The 1st Boron Derivatives Facility of Kırka starts up
1987 The 2nd Boric Acid Facility of Bandırma starts up
1996 The 2nd Borax pentahydrate facility of Kırka starts up
2001 The 3rd Borax pentahydrate facility of Kırka starts up
2003 The National Institute for Boron Research (BOREN) is founded
2004 The Emet Boric acid facility starts up
2005 1st National Boron Workshop (April 28-29, Ankara)
2006 3rd International Boron Symposium (November 2-4 /Ankara)
2007 The Calcined Tincal Pilot Facility starts up
2008 BOREN receives the Technology Award by METU Parlar Foundation - 2nd National Boron Workshop (April 17-18 /Ankara)
2009 4th International Boron Symposium (October 15-17/Eskişehir)
2010 Map showing boron distribution throughout Turkey is developed
2011 17th International Boron Symposium
2012 The BOREN project receives the Technology Award by the Elginkan Foundation