Chile can’t keep up with demand for salt from frozen Europe
As a result of the cold front affecting Europe, Chile’s Sociedad Punta de Lobos (SPL) —salt producer and exporter—is working at full capacity to export salt destined primarily for Belgium, Holland, Germany and France.
Salt for melting ice is the main business of SPL and they export salt primarily to the east coast of the United States. Each year they send 3 million tons of salt there.
Although Europe produces salt, Matías Mohr, general manager of SPL, said since Europe’s mines are underground the salt needs to be extracted through elevators.
It is impossible to increase the speed. They can only extract up to 15 tons a day and that is not nearly enough,” says Mohr.
The company is cognizant of not neglecting its U.S. market, despite the growing demand from Europe.
In the U.S., their winter season has been normal thus far, but the Americans had a hard winter last year,” said Mohr.
The company, controlled by German K+S, is located in Salar de Atacama, Region I. With the high demand for salt, Mohr stated that the company is running into supply problems.
According to SPL, this is the first time the company has had an intensive demand from Europe, in terms of volume, and it is only the beginning of their winter. And last year Europe also had a hard winter.
The firm bill between US$400 to US$500 million a year, depending on weather conditions in the U.S. and Europe.
SPL produces almost 6 billion tons of salt a year. The company also supplies salt to the chemical and food industry.
By Dominique Farrell – Santiago Times