Interview of Elsa Prous, Market Manager and Global Key Account Manager & Sophie Mouzon, Development Quality & Customer Assistance Manager of Seqens Mineral Specialties.

Elsa Prous / Sophie Mouzon

Could you present your activity and products?

Seqens Mineral Specialties produces and sells sodium carbonate, also called soda ash, sodium bicarbonate, sodium silicates and Nabion™ (sodium carbonate and sodium silicate cogranule).

Let’s focus on sodium bicarbonate. What products do you offer ? For what markets ?

Our sodium bicarbonate is used in various markets such as pharmaceutical, personal care, food, feed, flue gas treatment and home care.

In the pharmaceutical industry, our sodium bicarbonate is mainly used in the composition of effervescent tablets, for neutralization of gastric acidity and hemodialysis. Specific requirements from customers are expected in terms of granulometry, whiteness and density. We ensure quality and reliable supply with required certifications. All our pharmaceutical grades of sodium carbonate are compliant with European Pharmacopeia and are Cosmos registered, for personal care uses.
Certifications: ISO9001 : 2015, ISO14001, OHSAS18001, ISO50001, ExciPACT (HD110).

Could you present us your industrial assets ? Could you explain us the manufacturing process ?

The main raw materials of sodium bicarbonate are sodium carbonate and carbon dioxide.
Sodium carbonate is produced from natural raw materials: sodium chlorideand limestone (calcium carbonate) through a so-called Ammonia Cycle Process.
Then, by adding carbon dioxide, we obtain the sodium bicarbonate.
To crystallize sodium bicarbonate, a filtered sodium carbonate solution is mixed with carbon dioxide gas.
Different steps of filtration, drying, and sieving ensure the high quality of our products.

Our characteristic is to manufacture our products in a fully integrated way. We manufacture all our products from limestone and sodium chloride which come from our saline fields and quarry, located within a 40 km radius of the plant. Seqens Mineral Specialties, whose industrial assets are based in Lorraine near Nancy, steps in a long-established tradition of mining activity.

La Madeleine plant in Nancy (Est of France)

We also have another facility in Singapore. This state-of-the-art production unit was built in 2017 to produce high-quality sodium bicarbonate grades to serve Premium markets like Food and Pharma around the world with a focus on the Asian growing market.

Our expertise in process and quality management, validated by international certifications, allows us to offer high quality sodium bicarbonate meeting food and pharma requirements, notably for dialysis application.

Why using sodium bicarbonate for dialysis ? What are the characteristics of this kind of product ?

Sodium bicarbonate cartridges are used during dialysis session to enable the purification of blood while keeping its pH at a normal range, that is to correct the acidification process linked to osmosis separation. This usage requires a high purity product (i.e. very low level of metals, sodium carbonate, sodium chloride) with a precise particle size distribution, in order to control the kinetics of powder dissolution in the cartdrige during the treatment.

A word about the future of sodium bicarbonate for Seqens Mineral Specialties ?

First of all, we want to develop our premium offer, for food and pharmaceutical uses, to meet the increasing needs of our customers, in Europe but also in Latin America, Middle East and Asia.
The way to achieve this goal is to improve continuously our process and our quality system.

In particular, we have the objectives to continue developing our production capacities for the next five years in Europe and Asia, and to keep on improving our product quality by passing cGMP certification for sodium bicarbonate as an Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) in the next two years.