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 Form 1 Geography Online Lessons on Mining

In this Lesson we are going to learn on the Trona mining on Lake Magadi and also how it is processed

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Answer Text:
Trona mining on Lake Magadi
Location
-L.Magadi is 120km S.W of Nairobi on the floor of the Great Rift Valley.
Occurrence
-Trona deposits occur as a solution of sodium salts the main ones being sodium sequicarbonate and sodium chloride.
Mode of Formation
• Rain water dissolves soda salts in volcanic rocks.
• The solution percolates through the rocks and soil and gets beneath the basin.
• The accumulated solution is heated by the hot rocks beneath.
• Pressure builds up and the heated solution is pushed to the surface.
• It comes out of the ground inform of hot springs below or on the sides of the lake.
• Due to high temperature water evaporates leaving behind crystals of trona.
Extraction and Processing
• A dredger scoops trona out of the lake.
• It crushes it into smaller pieces and separates it from rock debris.
• The material is mixed with water to form slurry and transported to factory on the lake’s shore.
• In the factory the slurry is mixed with water to wash out impurities such as mud and salt and dried.
• It is sent to desiccators and heated to remove moisture and hydrogen to form soda ash.
• Soda ash is cooled and ground into powder and sieved.
• It’s packed into paper bags, weighed and transported to the market.
Uses of Soda ash
Used in the:
a) Glass industry in the manufacture of glasses and bottles.
b) Manufacture of soaps and detergents.
c) Softening water in paper making.
d) In textile industry.
e) In oil refining.
Benefits to the Economy
1. Has led to growth of Magadi town ship.
2. Has led to development of social amenities such as hospitals and schools and water from Oloibortoto River which has benefited the local people.
3. Has led to development of infrastructure e.g. railway line from Konza to L. Magadi.
4. The Magadi Soda Company employs many Kenyans including the nomadic Maasai.
5. Exports of soda ash earn Kenya a substantial amount of foreign exchange.
Problems
1. Stiff competition from developed countries with large soda deposits e.g. U.S.A and Israel.
2. Low value of salt is insufficient to meet its production cost.
3. High labour costs due to incentives given so that workers agree to work in the
hostile environment of L. Magadi.


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