Sasol Polymers (formerly called Polifin) was incorporated on 28 December 1993 and commenced trading on 1 January 1994. The company was formed through merging certain of the operations of AECI and Sasol. The resultant organisation is an amalgamation of Sasol’s monomer (ethylene and propylene) and polymer (polypropylene) manufacturing and marketing operations with AECI’s polymer (PVC and polyethylene), chlor-alkali chemical, and mining reagent manufacturing and marketing operations as well as AECI’s downstream plastics conversion and recycling operations.
The Polyethylene business unit is a long established producer and marketer of low density polyethylene ("LDPE") and linear low density polyethylene ("LLDPE") for a broad spectrum of customers in the South African plastics conversion industry. It is the country’s sole producer of these products and has a market share of more than 70%. Sasolburg has a 100 000 ton/pa LDPE plant as well as a 150,000 ton/pa LLDPE plant. A new 220 000 ton/pa LDPE plant is under construction at Sasolburg using new licensed technology. The existing LDPE plant will be eventually be downscaled or discontinued. The Vinyls business unit produces suspension polyvinyl chloride ("PVC") resins with a current PVC capacity of 200 000 tons/pa. Its fully integrated vinyl chloride monomer ("VCM") and PVC production chain is situated at Sasolburg. Ethylene and chlorine are sourced from within Sasol Polymers. This business unit supplies more than 95% of the South African resin market as well as exporting to markets in Africa and the Far East.
The Chemicals business unit operates plants at Sasolburg, producing chlor-alkali chemicals, cyanide and organic peroxides. The latter is produced in a joint venture with Degussa. The Chemicals business unit operates a 145 000 tons/pa chlorine plant and supplies some 78% of its chlorine production to the Vinyls business unit. The balance is beneficiated into hydrochloric acid, sodium hypochlorite and calcium chloride. It also sells 148 000 tons/pa of diaphram and membrane grade caustic soda to South African customers in the pulp and paper, minerals beneficiation and soap and detergent industries. The Chemicals business is South Africa’s sole manufacturer of sodium and calcium cyanide solution with a production capacity of 40 000 tons/pa, which is sold to local gold producers. Local demand for cyanide is declining in line with South Africa’s reduced extraction and refining of gold ore.