Sodium chlorate is largely used by the pulp & paper industry. In North America an estimated 95 of the demand for this product is from the pulp & paper industry. Sodium chlorate is used by pulp mills in the process of bleaching wood pulp. Pulp mills convert sodium chlorate into chlorine dioxide - an environmentally friendly bleaching agent. The process of using chlorine dioxide to bleach pulp is referred to as "ECF" bleaching meaning "elemental chlorine free".
After bleaching, pulp is used to produce printing and writing papers and various types of packaging for food products and consumer goods. Most of the white papers used in home and office applications today contain pulp bleached with a process using sodium chlorate.
During the 1990's the pulp industry in North America shifted from the practice of bleaching pulp with chlorine to bleaching with chlorine dioxide. The 90's was a period of significant growth in sodium chlorate demand and Canexus demonstrated our commitment to this change through several plant expansions and acquisitions.
Other applications for sodium chlorate include mining and agriculture.