- Salinas de Torrevieja has already exported 140,000 tons of salt by sea during this campaign and another 22,000 tons for the national market.
Storm Gloria has boosted the demand for Torrevieja salt that is needed to thaw the many pathways, roads and motorways that have been covered in ice and snow across the country.
The image of the “convoy” of heavy trucks waiting in an orderly queue along the Salinas access road to load the salt has now become a regular site to anyone driving along the N-332.
According to the director of the salt depot, Joseph Perez, around 700 tons per day now leaves Torrevieja in trucks destined for the national market. It is required all over Spain for road maintenance, administrations and municipalities, which equates into the movement of an average of twenty heavy trucks every day.
This is a situation that occurs every time a snowstorm hits the peninsula. But these requests for salt, although important for the New Leasing Company of the Salinas de Torrevieja (NCAST), don’t have a major bearing in respect to the annual production the salt.
So far this year – from August to August – the NCAST has exported 140,000 tons by sea destined to be used on roads, and another 22,000 tons for the national market. The product is highly sought in the market for its marine origin. It has very low sulphate and gypsum residue, which generates a lower environmental impact and less asphalt corrosion.
Salt is also the most economical and efficient melting material. Actually, salt does not “melt” the snow. It stops the water solidifying in the form of ice, reducing the freezing temperature. Hence, it is especially effective when scattered on the roads before it snows and freezes.
Pérez explains that despite the harsh appearance of the Storm “Gloria”, much of the autumn and winter has been quiet and the salt reserves – a product that has no ‘use by date’ – have remained in plentiful supply in warehouses and silos across Spain, where they have been stockpiled from last season.
Torrevieja has a dominant position in the market because it is one of the few European salt mines that can supply large volumes of sea salt, thanks to its unique method of extraction throughout the year, which other production plants must reserve for other uses.
Salinas can produce an average of around 600,000 tons of sea salt every year. Only a small part is used for table salt. Other much more important uses are for salting, tanning and the chemical industry. The NCAST, of the Salinas Group, with 80 employees, has satisfied its traditional customers despite the impact on cold water levels and brine concentration per drop since late 2016.