Products and Operations
The salt field operation at Walvis Bay comprises two companies, Salt & Chemicals (Pty) Ltd and Walvis Bay Salt Refiners (Pty) Ltd. Salt & Chemicals produces the raw salt whilst Walvis Bay Salt Refiners further processes and markets the salt. If you would like a copy of our certifications, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Walvis Bay Salt Refiners salt production process is based on the solar evaporation of seawater to produce 99,4% pure sodium chloride (NaCl) on dry mass basis.
Seawater, which is the only raw material, contains a 3.5% concentration of salts, of which 2.9% is sodium chloride. The water is pumped from a natural lagoon into a series of pre-evaporation ponds and then through a series of concentration ponds. The total operation covers an area of 4500ha.
Stimulated by wind and sun the brine salinity (concentrated salt water) content gradually increases until it reaches 25% NaCl, at which point it is pumped into crystallization ponds, each with a surface area of about 20ha. The salt then crystallizes to form a layer of crystals on the various crystallizer pavements.
During the evaporation process, brine depths and densities are controlled to ensure that the maximum number of unwanted chemical impurities are precipitated before they enter the crystallizers. A similar monitoring program is adopted to control the depth and density of crystallization ponds to achieve optimum efficiency levels. Performance is constantly monitored by technicians at an on-site laboratory.
Harvesting and Washing
Once the salt crystals have grown to the required levels, the product is removed by mechanical harvesters and transported to a processing plant. Here, the raw product undergoes a process of upgrading, using dilute brine as washing medium. During the wash process impurities including calcium, sulphate and magnesium is removed. Finally, the processed salt is dried through centrifuges and stockpiled.
Salt is required by customers in a variety of different bag sizes, and is packed at a food-grade bagging facility. Specific package identification and granule sizes are incorporated during this process according to customer needs.
Ship Loading and Exports
Product destined for bulk exports is transported from the bulk storage facility at the harbour by a conveyor belt and spout-trimmed into the ship’s hold at the Walvis Bay harbor dockside. Loading can take place on a 24-hour basis, seven days a week. Bulk product is shipped to Southern Africa, West and East Africa, as well as Europe and North America.