Our North American sodium chlorate business is our largest operating segment. Facilities are located at: Brandon, Manitoba; Beauharnois, Quebec; and Nanaimo, British Columbia, with an aggregate production capacity of 384,250 MT/year. We currently operate just over 20% of the North American sodium chlorate capacity and together with two other producers make up about 75% of the continent’s capacity. The top three producers have about 85% of the North American market share.
Brandon is our flagship plant, accounting for more than 90% of our North American sodium chlorate EBITDA. It’s the world’s largest and North America’s lowest-cost facility.
Electricity is the single biggest variable cost in producing sodium chlorate in North America. Other major manufacturing components are salt and water. As a result, competitive electricity costs are critical to profitability. Strategically, all of our plants are located in regulated lower-cost hydroelectricity regions, with Manitoba’s hydroelectricity being among the lowest.
Approximately 95% of North American sodium chlorate production is sold to the pulp and paper industry to produce chlorine dioxide, an environmentally-preferred pulp bleaching agent for paper and paper products. Therefore, growth in sodium chlorate is driven by growth in bleached pulp.