Borth – the last mine on the Lower Rhine
The Borth salt plant is located in Rheinberg in North Rhine-Westphalia and is the last active mine on the Lower Rhine. Both rock salt and vacuum salt are extracted here for the European market, e.g. de-icing salt for winter road services, table salt products and high-purity pharmaceutical salt.
Borther rock salt is known for its high purity and is extracted by traditional mining, i.e. by drilling and blasting. After a first underground processing stage, the coarsely crushed salt is transported to the surface, where it passes through further grinding and sieving stages in order to produce the various grains for the customers.
Borther Saline supplies high-purity evaporated salt products for particularly demanding applications, such as high-purity salt for pharmaceutical applications.
The Borth salt plant is the last active mine on the Lower Rhine - all other mines (coal) have already been closed. With approx. 370 employees, the Borth plant is one of the most important regional employers, regularly awards contracts for supplies and services to companies in the surrounding area and provides the economic basis for a large number of regional jobs.
Borth at a glance
|Type of site:||
Extraction and processing of rock salt and vacuum salt
|Number of employees:||approx. 370 in 2020|
|Product & service portfolio:||
De-icing salt, industrial salt, livestock salt, electrolysis salt, food-grade and table salt, salt tablets, dishwasher salt, high-purity pharmaceutical salt
|Production capacity:||approx. 2,400k tonnes/year rock salt
approx. 290k tonnes/year vacuum salt
One employer – many opportunities
With approximately 370 employees, the Borth plant is one of the most important regional employers. Discover attractive and varied job opportunities at K+S and get to know us as an employer. In motivated teams, you will have the opportunity to contribute your knowledge, strengths and ideas in a targeted way. In addition, we offer you attractive social benefits, extensive development opportunities, company health management and much more.
We are looking forward to getting to know you!
Our certificates at the Borth plant
Our products are certified according to international standards and norms. Here you can find our current certificates.
ISO 9001 Certificate
ISO 50001 Certificate
The history of the Borth plant
Beneath the Borth salt mine, the Lower Rhine salt pan with a thickness of about 200 meters stretches over a distance of about 50 kilometers to the Netherlands.
In 1897, test drilling for coal in Rheinberg led to the discovery of salt and limestone deposits, which in 1906 led to the construction of a soda-ash factory by the German Solvay Works. Initially, small quantities of their own brine were used and salt from other mines was also used. Since the authorities did not permit large-scale salinization of the salt deposits, it was decided to mine salt, i.e. with underground shafts and roadways and an above-ground shaft tower, in order to cover the salt requirement for soda production from their own deposits.
Due to the nearby Rhine and its water conditions, the drilling of the first shaft between Borth and Wallach was complicated and tedious. A serious flood with several fatalities led to the abandonment of mining activities at this point. Two new pits were built at the town boundaries of Borth, Menzelen-Ost, Büderich and Wallach. Salt production was started in 1926.
The tower of shaft I was rebuilt in the 1960s. In addition, a saline was added to the plant in which vacuum salt is produced for a wide range of product specialities - about 170 products that are either subject to special purity requirements or for which full solubility without residues is a quality criterion. A large part of the vacuum salt is processed into products for water softening (e.g. salt for tablets), food grade salt and high purity pharmaceutical salts.
When it began operations in 1964, the saline was one of the few plants of this kind in Germany and, with a production capacity of 150,000 tonnes per year, also one of the largest. Since then, almost all salt producers have been able to produce vacuum salt, and at the same time the plants have become considerably larger. Borther Saline has also been expanded to 300,000 tonnes per year. While other plants use brine, their solid rock salt is used for the crystallization process. This process has several advantages: On the one hand, it uses the powder portion resulting from rock salt production as a raw material instead of having to dispose of it. On the other hand, the production process requires relatively little energy and can completely dispense with chemicals when separating insoluble minerals.
In the 1980s and 1990s, a series of modernization and expansion works followed at the plant, including the construction of a palletizing hall with automatic bagging and palletizing technology.
With the establishment of esco - european salt company as a joint venture between K+S Aktiengesellschaft and Solvay S.A. in 2002, the plant was integrated into esco and finally into the K+S Group. In 2006, the shaft II tower was renewed, a new crude salt mill was erected in 2008, and in 2010 / 2011, the winding machines for shafts I and II were renewed. Shaft II was renovated in 2012, the packaging building was renovated in 2013 and a new service hall was erected. In 2014 / 2015, investments were made in modernizing the transportation from the factory site to the Rhine, partly for reasons of profitability and partly for reasons of quality.
From the outset, the connection to the rail network and inland waterways played an important role for the Borth salt plant. Already at the beginning of the 20th century there was a well-developed, continuous route network in the region - the "Lower Rhine Route" opened in 1904 stretched from Moers to Kleve and offered far-reaching transportation possibilities from the Lower Rhine to the supra-regional route network.
For many years, until the end of 2014, a plant railway transported loose rock salt in wagons that were still open at the time to the Rhine loading station "An der Momm" in Ossenberg, from where it was transported on by inland waterway vessels. The railway line was shut down at the beginning of 2015 and since then trucks have been transporting the loose rock salt from Borth to the modernized Rhine port of Wesel.
1906 - Construction of the shafts
1926 - Start of salt production
1964 - 1965 - New construction of shaft 1 tower and start of construction of saline plant
1985 - Construction of the palletizing hall and installation of automatic bag palletizers
1998 - Expansion of the palletizing hall and installation of new bagging and palletizing technology
2002 - With the joint venture between K+S and Solvay and the founding of esco - european salt company, the plant becomes part of the K+S Group
2006 - New tower for shaft II
2008 - Construction of new crude salt mill
2010 - 2011 - Renewal of the winding machines for shaft II and shaft I
2012 - Reconstruction of shaft II
2013 - Renovation of packaging building and new construction of service hall
2015 - Conversion from rail to truck traffic for the transportation of loose salt to the Rhine loading station "An der Momm".
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