11 July 2018

Namibia: Walvis Salt Company Makes Record Investment

Walvis Bay Salt Refiners last week announced a N$90 million investment in a new wash plant - the single most significant investment by the company in its over 54-year existence.

In 2015, the refiners expanded its salt fields by 1 100 hectares of concentration and evaporation ponds. The salt pans now cover 5 300 hectares.

With that, salt production has increased. In fact, when the company started in 1964, it produced 50 000 tonnes of salt per year. Today, it produces about a million tonnes per year.

"The rapid expansion of our business during the last few years has necessitated this investment in the latest technology to keep up with the higher demand," said Walvis Bay Salt Holdings managing director Andre Snyman.

The maximum current output of the company's 30-year-old wash plant is about 900 000 tonnes per year, if operating at full capacity all-year-round.

At this rate of production, the wash plant is only able to process about 80% of the expanded salt field volumes. The new plant will have a washed salt capacity of 1,1 million tonnes a year.

Walvis Bay Salt Refiners is a subsidiary of Walvis Bay Salt Holdings, and is said to be the largest producer of solar sea salt in sub-Saharan Africa.

About 80% of its production is exported, especially to Europe and the United States.

The new plant will have the capacity to ensure the refiner meets customer and international quality standards. The new plant reduces the moisture content in the salt, which is an essential requirement of foreign markets.

Construction is expected to be completed by October next year. The infrastructure will also include a new reception, security, and induction office, an information centre and training room, as well as a warehouse and ablution facilities.

Walvis Bay mayor Immanuel Wilfried commended the company for its investment at a time when the country is facing economic headwinds.

"Our salt is indeed found all over (the world). I was in Sweden visiting a cable factory when I saw salt being offloaded from a ship there. I asked them where the salt was coming from, and they said Africa. I said where in Africa, and they said Namibia. I said where in Namibia, and they said Walvis Bay," Wilfried beamed.

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