Walvis Bay Salt Refiners invests N$93.6 million in new processing plant
Walvis Bay Salt Refiners, the largest producer of evaporative sea salt in sub-Sahara Africa, made a N$93.6 million investment in a new processing plant to be able to meet ever-increasing international specifications.
The company produces solar sea salt by pumping seawater from the Walvis Bay lagoon through a series of concentration and crystallisation ponds. The biggest improvements of the new processing plant are anticipated to be lower processing losses, a drier product, lower power consumption, as well as the fact that the larger plant intake capabilities will support harvesting and haulage operations at a constant feed rate.
According to the company, this investment enhances international sales and marketing efforts by offering a wider range of product specifications from a lower cost base. While increasing the processing capacity of salt from 120 to 220 tons per hour, the new plant also brings the benefit of improved product quality in terms of lower insolubles, lower calcium and magnesium levels, and in general improves the company’s ability to produce chemical grade product.
“People think all salt is the same. That’s not true. Salt is not just salt. It gets graded and one must have the ability to provide the correct technical specifications to a wide variety of markets,” said the company’s managing director, André Snyman.
He explained that five years ago, the company did not have such ability, adding that by investing in the new plant, they have seen improvements all round. The new processing plant requires lower operator input, making more time available for monitoring, measuring and maintenance work.
Construction of the new plant commenced in June 2018 and includes a new reception, security office, induction office, information centre, training room as well as warehouse and ablution facilities. Around 60% of total project cost was allocated to Namibian service providers.
The Walvis Bay Salt Refiners site is located in the Kuiseb river delta at the southern end of the Walvis Bay lagoon close to the sea.