Mission mining

The drama behind the transformation of soft-rock mineral trona into soda ash

More than 1,600 feet below ground level, at its Green River Basin facility in the American state of Wyoming, Tata Chemicals mines trona, a naturally occurring soft-rock mineral. It then processes this mineral on terra firma to produce soda ash, among the most widely used chemicals in the world. It's an operation that is both basic and sophisticated, combining the dramatic and the commonplace in an environment where business success depends on know-how and efficiency as much as on camaraderie and community. Photojournalist Larry Brown, company employee by designation and shutterbug by passion, takes an inside view of this remarkable enterprise.