Salt industry sentiment upbeat as industry players meet in Southern Africa

News Analysis




Salt industry sentiment upbeat as industry players meet in Southern Africa

Last week saw the Salt Forum 2023 take place in Namibia bringing together global stakeholders to discuss this bulk commodity.    

The Salt Forum 2023, organised by IMFORMED, was held in Swakopmund, Namibia, from November 6th to 9th of 2023. Three representatives of the Project Blue team were in attendance, with Research Directors Dr Jack Bedder and Alison Saxby delivering presentations. Jack’s presentation delved into the question of whether salt could be considered a critical raw material, while Alison’s presentation covered the dynamics of the Asia-Pacific salt market’s supply and demand. Other themes presented included regional overviews of salt in Southern Africa and Europe, and operation-specific insights and updates for projects including Walvis Bay Salt, the Senegal salt project, and the Mardie Salt & Potash Project. Technological developments in the salt-making industry were also discussed with mentions of concern regarding future climatic effects on production. 

On the final day, Walvis Bay Salt, the conference's lead sponsor, generously provided the attendees with a tour of their facility. Walvis Bay Salt is the largest producer of solar salt in sub-Saharan Africa, covering an area of approximately 5,000ha and processing 100Mm3 of seawater to produce more than 1.1Mt of crude salt per year. The tour started with a trip out to the extensive salt evaporation pans and crystallization ponds, where the company demonstrated the efficiency of their Wirtgen W210F salt harvester, acquired and commissioned in May 2022. The tour then continued to the next step in production, where salt transported from the harvesting site undergoes a washing process that removes impurities and insolubles to meet a wide range of client specifications with purity levels of no less than 99.2%. The washed salt is then bagged or shipped in bulk through the company’s loading plant in the local port, or it may undergo further processing in the table salt refinery. 

The conference proved to be informative and a great networking event for the attendees, fostering an atmosphere of optimism and confidence in the prospects of the salt industry. Project Blue shares this positive outlook for the global salt market and expects it to grow at a CAGR of 2.2% over the next decade, with the main driver being demand from the chloralkali sector.