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.

Site Facts

Borth at a glance

Founded in: 1906
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
Site Focus

The site at a glance

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.


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.

Long time after this part of the Borth mine was closed, the winding tower of "Wallach Shaft" continued to dominate the landscape. It was not until the 1960s that the shaft was finally filled in and the winding tower dismantled. Today, only a slight elevation between the districts of Wallach and Borth and an old machine house remain.

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".

Working at K+S

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!


International standards & norms

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


Borth plant

EC-Eco Certificate

Bernburg, Borth, Braunschweig-Lüneburg plant

FSSC 22000 Certificate

Borth plant

GMP Certificate

Borth plant

GMP+ FC Scheme 2020

Borth plant

Halal Certificate

Borth 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.

NF Certificate

Borth plant
Contact & Route

Your contact

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

K+S Minerals and Agriculture GmbH
Werk Borth
K+S Minerals and Agriculture GmbH
Werk Borth
Costumer contact
Daniela Brienza-Mayer
Catalina Tronaru
HR Recruiting for Langelsheim, Bad Hersfeld, Rheinberg, Staudt
K+S Minerals and Agriculture GmbH Salt mine & Saline Borth
Training site
Karlstr. 80
47495 Rheinberg
+49 2803 48 2500