Traditional plant in the salt region (Saxony-Anhalt)

The Bernburg (Saale) salt plant is located between Magdeburg and Leipzig - in a region that has been characterized by mining since the Middle Ages. Salt is extracted here from a high-grade deposit and processed into a wide range of rock salt and evaporated salt products, such as de-icing salt for winter road clearance services, food grade and table salts, and tablets for water softening.

Site Facts

Bernburg at a glance

Founded in: 1912
Type of site: Extraction and processing of rock salt and vacuum salt
Number of employees: approx. 500
Product & service portfolio: De-icing salt, industrial salt, livestock salt, food grade salt, industrial salt, salt tablets, dishwasher salt, storage/transhipment of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG)
Production capacities: approx. 2,600k tonnes/year rock salt
approx. 275k tonnes/year vacuum salt
approx. 1,400k tonnes/year salt brine
Site Focus

The site at a glance

Today, the Bernburg plant is one of the most important regional employers with around 500 employees, including around 27 trainees. As a partner to the region, the plant regularly commissions subcontracting and services to companies in the surrounding area, therefore providing the economic basis for numerous regional jobs.

Cavern operation & liquefied gas storage

Since 1965, the favorable conditions of the Bernburg salt deposit have also been utilized for the extraction of saturated brine in the Gnetsch brine field. The resulting caverns, uniformly shaped and stable cavities at a depth of several hundred meters, provide ideal conditions for the safe storage of natural and liquid gas.

Established in 1974, the underground storage facility is now operated by VNG Gasspeicher GmbH and, following several expansion stages, currently has a storage capacity of 1.0 billion standard cubic meters of natural gas.

The salt plant itself has built a liquefied gas storage facility in two caverns with an associated transhipment facility which, with a capacity of 80,000 tonnes, is one of the largest of its kind and can supply a wide regional catchment area.


The history of the salt mine


After the mining companies ("unions") "Bernburger Kaliwerke" and "Gröna" had been founded in 1911, the actual birth of the plant, which initially focused exclusively on the extraction of potash salts, occurred in 1912 with the start of mining operations for the Bernburg (March 1912) and Gröna (April 1912) shafts. As early as 1913, extraction of the popular raw material began and the potash factory started operations.

In 1921, the extraction of rock salt was also started, of which there are large reserves in particularly pure quality in the Bernburg deposit.

After the Second World War, the Soviet Military Administration for Germany expropriated the 200 largest industrial companies in the Soviet occupation zone and merged them into so-called Soviet joint stock corporations, including the potash and rock salt plant in Bernburg.

The merger was followed by years of maintenance or modernization and rationalization of the East German potash and rock salt plants. In 1996, a new evaporated salt plant went into operation at the Bernburg plant; since then, in addition to high-quality rock salt products, numerous evaporated salt products of high purity have been produced there.

With the establishment of esco - european salt company in 2002, the plant was integrated into the esco Group. Since 2019, the Bernburg plant has belonged to K+S Minerals and Agriculture GmbH.

In the German Democratic Republic (GDR), the entire economic development was characterized by various phases of nationalization and finally the formation of combines and amalgamation into Volkseigene Betriebe (VEB). Potash became one of the GDR's most important export goods and a major foreign currency earner for the state.

Following the construction of the Zielitz potash plant in the 1960s not far from Bernburg, the potash and rock salt plant in Bernburg was aligned exclusively to its function as an efficient rock salt plant in the early 1970s. From 1974, only rock salt was produced here to meet the needs of the entire GDR and to supply neighboring socialist countries.

The Bernburg evaporated salt plant, newly built in 1996.

The opening of the Wall on November 9, 1989 marked the beginning of a new era in German history. Reunification provided the German potash and salt industry with a unique opportunity to jointly assume a new starting position in international competition. In the course of the privatization of the East German potash industry (which produced both potash and rock salt) in the 1990s, MDK - Mitteldeutsche Kali AG and K+S Aktiengesellschaft (then Kali und Salz GmbH) combined their potash and rock salt activities. At the beginning of 1994, the potash and rock salt activities of Kali und Salz and MDK were pooled in a joint new subsidiary, in which Treuhand also had a stake. This is how the Bernburg site finally became part of the K+S Group.

The merger was followed by years of maintenance, modernization and streamlining of the East German potash and rock salt plants. In 1996, a new evaporated salt plant went into operation at the Bernburg plant; since then, in addition to high-quality rock salt products, numerous high-purity evaporated salt products have also been manufactured there.

When esco - european salt company was founded in 2002, the plant was integrated into the esco Group.

Working at K+S

One employer – many opportunities

Discover the attractive and versatile job opportunities at K+S and learn more about us as an employer. In motivated teams, you have the opportunity to contribute your knowledge, strengths, and ideas in a targeted manner. We also offer attractive social benefits, extensive development opportunities, corporate health management and much more.

We look forward to meeting you!

Waste management

Long-term safe disposal of hazardous waste

As a certified waste management company, REKS offers solutions in the areas of waste management, covering of potash tailings piles as well as complete services for the recycling of aluminum slag containing salt.

Bernburg underground recovery

Many mineral substances can be recovered underground. We deposit this waste in the cavities once created during the extraction of potash and rock salt, where raw materials are no longer mined. We support the pillars between the mining chambers and therefore not only use the waste as a resource, but also ensure mining safety at the same time. In around 25 years of underground recovery, we have developed numerous proprietary processes for utilizing the material properties of less contaminated waste, and are constantly working on new processes and techniques for recovering even more waste. 

At the Bernburg site, waste with a low pollutant content is processed above ground by our partner company AUREC to produce a mining waste mixture suitable for backfilling purposes in terms of construction physics. The material is transported underground via a shaft waste pipe. Belt conveyors and dump trucks transport the materials to the cavities, where they are deposited in the lintel backfill. In the final step, the materials are compacted. Waste packed in big bags can also be transported underground via the shaft conveyor and deposited there.


International standards & norms

Our products are certified according to international standards and norms. Here you can find our current certificates.

EC-Eco Certificate

Bernburg, Borth, Braunschweig-Lüneburg plant

GMP+ FC Scheme 2020

Bernburg plant

IFS Food Certificate

Bernburg plant

ISO 50001 Certificate K+S Aktiengesellschaft

K+S Aktiengesellschaft Certificate with enclosure

ISO 50001 Certificate

K+S Minerals and Agriculture GmbH

ISO 9001 Certificate

K+S Minerals and Agriculture GmbH

Kosher Certificate

K+S Minerals and Agriculture GmbH, K+S France SAS, Frisia Zout B.V.

Sicher mit System Certificate

Contact & Route

Your contact

If you have any questions about the Bernburg site, please use our contact options and we will take care of your request immediately!

K+S Minerals and Agriculture GmbH Salt mine & Saline Bernburg
Waste management
Training site
Kustrenaer Weg 7
06406 Bernburg
+49 3471 81 1226
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