Rio Tinto has reported full 2019 production results for its subsidiary Dampier Salt (DSL) in Australia. Dampier Salt is a joint venture between Rio Tinto (68%) and the Japanese companies Marubeni (22%) and Sojitz (10%). DSL has three solar salt operations in the Pilbara and Gascoyne regions of Western Australia. Combined capacity for the three operations is 10.3Mtpy. Output is exported and supplied mainly to base chemical industry markets in Asia. Overall output by Dampier Salt totalled 7.9Mt in 2019, a fall of 1.1Mt from 2018 production following the impact of a tropical cyclone. As a consequence, Rio Tinto’s share of production fell to 5.4Mt, some 731kt or 12% lower than its 6.2Mt reported in 2018.
The loss of 1Mt of high-grade solar salt production in Australia is expected to have a negative impact on the country’s salt exports. No export data are available for Australian salt but part year data from importing countries indicate that shipments fell from 12.85Mt in 2018 to an estimated 10.6Mt in 2019. Coupled with continued high demand for industrial-grade salt in Asia, this will further encourage Indian producers in particular to target the Asian market.
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