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The world of boron


As the biggest national mining company in Turkey, Eti Mine Works has been developing the country’s natural resources since its foundation in 1935. The company produces a range of boron minerals and refined boron products such as boron oxide, boric acid, Etibor-68 (anhydrous borax), Etibor-48 (borax pentahydrate), borax decahydrate, EtiDOT-67 (disodium octaborate tetraborate), ground colemanite, ground ulexite, calcined tincal and colemanite.

In 1982, Eti Mine Works, formerly known as Etibank, and the Finnish mining and multi-metal Outokumpu Group established Ab Etiproducts Oy as a joint venture in order to organize all marketing activities in the Scandinavian market. In 1993, the company shares of Outokumpu were transferred to Etimine SA, a sister company of Ab Etiproducts Oy, responsible for the marketing of Turkish boron products in Western Europe.

“Our core business is the sales and marketing of our parent company’s products in Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan and the other CIS,” explains Mr. Sapmaz. “In order to deliver quickly and flexibly, we operate several warehouses in the Baltic rim, in Sweden, Finland, Poland and Latvia. Our company also runs a subsidiary in Russia, Etiproducts Llc, which is responsible for the Russian market. Etiproducts Llc has a warehouse in Azov in the Black Sea region. Our head office is located in Helsinki, and from here, we manage all international sales and distribution activities. Over the years, we have been able to organize a well-established distribution network.”

Today, Etiproducts achieves an annual turnover of 55 million EUR with a growing tendency. The company’s product portfolio is divided into refined boron products, concentrated boron products and others. Examples of refined boron products are normal and low sulphates of boric acid, boron oxide, borax pentahydrate, borax decahydrate, anhydrous borax and disodium octaborate tetrahydrate. The company’s portfolio is also comprised of other boron products, ground colemanite and ground ulexite. Specialties such as natural zeolite, technical pure sulphuric acid and calcined pyrite powder round off the product spectrum.

Boron is used in a wide range of industries such as agriculture, ceramics, glass wool, glass fiber and optical glasses, timber preservation, detergents and soaps, metallurgy, corrosion inhibitors, adhesives, and abrasives. There are also several special applications. All in all, the product is used in around 450 different industries. As a result, Etiproducts has a broad clientele with the glass, agriculture and metallurgy sectors being key accounts.

“For example, boron is used for LCD screens, oven-proof glassware, fertilizers, eye drops and fiberglass car products such as car bumpers. You can say that boron is the salt of the industry.” Etiproducts enjoys an excellent reputation as a reliable supplier of boron products, ensuring good value for money. Therefore, the company does hardly any marketing.

“Top quality and excellent service are our guiding principles, and this is the best reference you can get,” confirms Mr. Sapmaz. “We are a household name in our industry and strongly benefit from word-of-mouth advertising. Our mission is based on six core pillars. These are to continue to be a leading borate supplier in our sales region; to provide our customers with good services and high quality; to improve our competitiveness in our sales region and markets; to establish and coordinate an efficient basis between clients and producers; to enhance the motivation and skills of our employees through training and development; and to promote the quality consciousness in our company in order to maintain high standards in all our fields of activities.”

The general management of Eti Mine Works holds several quality certifications, further proof of the company’s quality orientation. Among them are ISO 9001, ISO 14001, OHSAS 18001:2008, ISO/IEC 17025 and TS-EN 16001 for its energy management. Sustainability is also a key issue for Etiproducts. Against this background, the whole group is continuously searching for new applications. “Many external factors, such as energy and fuel prices, are out of control today,” says Mr. Sapmaz.

“These are very challenging times for a company like ours. In order to stay competitive in the long run, we cooperate closely with research institutions, such as universities and others. Innovation is a key word for us. At present, the Nordic market and the emerging markets are doing very well. Therefore, we have a positive outlook to the future. In the coming ten years, our Turkish parent will increase its production up to five million tons of boron per year. We are also thinking about new application possibilities. We are a melting pot of innovation, and this business approach will lead us into a promising future.”

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