About Boron » History
Boron and its derivatives have been used for long years. Judging by history, it was seen that boron salts were used for the first time in Tibet four thousand years ago. Babylonians used boron for smelting precious materials, Egyptians used boron for mummification and ancient Greeks and Romans used it for arena floor cleaning. In 875, Arabs made drugs for the first time from boron salts.
Modern boron industry started in 13th century by Marco Polo who brought boron from Tibet to Europe. In 1771, the existence of sassolite in hot water resources was realized in the Tuscani region of Italy. In 1830, boric acid production began in Italy. At the same time period, 1852, the first commercial borax mining started in Chile. Later, with the discovery and mining operation of reserves in Nevada, California, Caliko Mountain and Kramer regions, US became the first country supplying the boron demand of the world.
In Turkey, the first boron mining plant was known to operate with a 20-year operating concession given to a French firm in 1865 in accordance with “Maadin Nizannamesi” imposed in 1861.
History of Boron in Anatolia
Boron ores in Turkey were estimated to be known and used since the time of the Eastern Roman Empire. The first boron reserves were found in Sultançayırı region of Susurluk, Balıkesir. The ore, being a calcium salt, was operated as pandermite by foreign companies for long years.
In 1861, the first “Maadin Nizannamesi” was imposed and in accordance with its provisions, in 1865 operation concession of borax mine was given to the French “Desmazures” Company. In 1887, English Borax Consolidated Co. Ltd. moved into this region and till 1958, it continued its mining activities by taking up the operating concession.
Till 1927, mining concession was given to 624 foreign companies, but most of them were nationalized in 1944 and new concessions were not given to foreign funds.
In 1935, state companies like Etibank and MTA took up the exploration licenses with the laws numbered 2804 and 2805, and extended their exploration activities after World War II.
Colemanite reserves were found in Bigadiç in 1950, Mustafa Kemal Paşa region in 1952, and during the lignite studies of MTA in Emet-Kütahya, colemanite reserves were found around Hisarcık and Hamamköy. Two years later, in 1958, the operating concessions of these mines were given to Etibank.
English Borax Consolidated Co. Ltd., owning the borax reserves in Balıkesir region, saw the increase in borax ore deposits, and started to take over the Kırka-Sodium Salt deposits from private mine owners in 1965 and operated these deposits under the name of Turkish Borax. Due to the legal drawbacks in the takeover procedures of mines, concession of Turkish Borax dropped and since 1968 the operating concessions of these regions were given to Etibank. The project studies of Etibank started in 1969 and the construction of plants started in 1970.
Boron mines, which were initially operated by foreign companies, by the takeover of the concession of foreign companies to the government in 1968, were started to be operated by Etibank and some small scale local companies. In 1978, after the decision of the government to state-operate the boron mines, all mining, investment, production and marketing activities have been carried out by Etibank (ETİ Mine Works General Management as called today).
From the date of nationalization till today nearly 30 years past. Within this time, important improvements were recorded in both the mining and the refined boron products production. Boron reserves were known to be 600 million tons in 1978, with the explorations, today it is detected as 2.2 billion tons. Reserve research is still continuing with Eti Mine/ MTA (General Directorate of Mineral Research and Exploration) cooperation. Production capacity is increasing each day and with the gradual increase of our success in the world boron market, the market share of 16% in 1970s reached 37% today, which is ahead of United States.