The history of Walvis Bay Salt Refiners involves more than just the capital invested in infrastructure and technology to ensure business success.
The company’s achievements also flow from our passion for continued development of our human capital, ongoing respect for the delicate natural environment and consideration of the interests and well-being of our community in which we operate. The salt production process is intertwined with nature and cannot continue without the following resources:
- The land situated in the Kuiseb river delta area, which is a declared Ramsar Wetland of International Importance
- The clay silt and sand used for pond embankments, pond walls and roads;
- The seawater, the main raw material, is used for the extraction of common salt; and
- Sun and wind energy for the evaporation of water to crystallize the sodium chloride.
Although the availability of some resources seems infinite, it instills in the company a deep sense of respect and responsibility for and commitment towards the environment. Walvis Bay Salt Holdings translates this respect and responsibility towards the environment by seeking excellence in environmental management, performance and conformance.
The Company therefore holds to the following environmental policy:
- Prevent and reduce environmental pollution due to its’ business activities;
- Assess business environmental aspects and reduce their impacts through compliance to the approved Environmental Management Plan;
- Comply with relevant laws and regulations, specifically the Environmental Management Act and the company’s Environmental Clearance Certificate;
- Cooperate with governmental and regulatory agencies in developing and implementing sound environmental practices;
- Conserve non-renewable resources as best as practically possible;
- Continue to host species and habitats protected by the Ramsar Convention as part of the larger Walvis Bay Lagoon wetland and support regular bird count initiatives in the area which has been running since 1983
- Set environmental objectives which are monitored and reviewed regularly to ensure continual improvement of its’ environmental performance;
- Make this policy and relevant associated information available to interested and affected parties on request; and
- Motivate, make aware and train employees to carry out tasks in an environmentally responsible manner, ensuring pollution prevention, reduction of waste and minimizing the consumption of resources.
Future Environmental Options
Walvis Bay Salt Holdings is attempting to stay ahead of the regulatory agencies and determines priorities and acts on opportunities for environmental improvement. Currently the company is investigating renewable energy options as well as more efficient transport options for export salt through the Namport harbour.
Our evaporation ponds – an ecological importance
Our network of evaporation ponds situated in the Kuiseb river delta covers an area in excess of 5000 hectares and is surrounded by the Namib desert, Atlantic Ocean and Walvis Bay Lagoon. It comprises the largest part of the Walvis Bay wetlands area, a popular tourist attraction. Classified as a Ramsar site in 1995, the area is internationally recognised as a site of ecological importance and judged by ornithologists to be the most important coastal wetland in southern Africa and one of three most important coastal wetlands in Africa. Flamingos and other waders in their tens of thousands is a common sight.