Evaporated salt

Since the beginning of the second decade of the 21st century, global salt production has been on an upward trend of approx. 1% p.a. on average – from around 300 million tonnes in 2010 to around 330 million tonnes in 2019. The growth of the global market was mainly related to the growing demand for chlor-alkalis and sodium carbonate in Asia.

The ten biggest producers (countries) are responsible for over 3/4 of global supply. Among them are only two European countries (Germany, producing approximately 15 million tonnes per year and Russia, producing 10 million tonnes per year). Poland (producing more than 4 million tonnes of salt a year) is ranked among the second tenth in the global ranking, with a share in total production of 1.3%.


European salt production capacities are estimated at more than 100 million tonnes per year (including producers using salt only for the purposes of their own chemical production, such as Solvay and Dow Chemical). The largest producer in Europe operating in the free market is the K+S Group (formerly Esco), with capacities of 9-10 million tonnes per year and production plants in several countries of Western Europe. Other companies with large production capacities (above 5 million tonnes per year) include a Ukrainian company, Artyomsol (around 7 million tonnes per year; capacities used recently to a small extent) and a chemical concern, Nouryon – formerly AkzoNobel (around 6 million tonnes per year).

Salt is usually present in the European market in two forms: rock salt and evaporated salt. Evaporated salt is one of the key products of the CIECH Group, which offers it in various distribution channels. Salt produced in our plants in Janikowo is used in food, meat, chemical (e.g. in electrolysis) and many other industries. Salt tablets used in specialized installations – water treatment systems – are also an important product. Another distribution channel of growing importance for the CIECH Group are animal feed plants and large farms. It is for this branch that feed salt and salt licks are dedicated, for balancing the animal diet.

Due to advantages of evaporated salt with regards to quality parameters, chemical industry in Western Europe abandoned using of rock salt. A similar process occurred in food and households industries. Rock salt is presently used primarily in highway maintenance for winter de-icing. Evaporated salt, on the other hand, is widely used in every field of industry and in households. Its purest grade is also used in the pharmaceutical industry.

In Europe, most of salt is used in the soda ash and chlorine-alkali industries (approx. half of the demand). In recent years, much less salt has been used for highway maintenance. Globally, use of salt in highway maintenance is significant only in North America (about 1/3). In other regions of the world, chemical sector (chlorine-alkali industry and sodium carbonate industry) is the main buyers of salt. In Asia (outside China), Latin America, Africa and the Middle East, significant volumes of salt are used for direct consumption and food production.


Polish salt market structure differs from the one in Europe. Much more important is the salt used for the production of sodium carbonate, in highway maintenance and for direct consumption, while the salt used in the chlorine-alkali industry is of lesser significance.


Poland belongs to leading salt producers in Europe. Total production of evaporated salt, rock salt and brine in the past decade oscillated between 3.9 and 4.5 million tonnes.

Polish salt market, like Europe, is mature. The volume of evaporated salt consumption shows a slight average annual growth rate of 1%-1.5%. This growth is mainly driven by highly processed salt products, e.g. for water treatment systems and health care. On the other hand, the market of rock salt used mainly for winter road maintenance is variable. The demand for rock salt in case of atmospheric anomalies can change by several dozen percent.The CIECH Group is practically not present on the road salt market, therefore weather anomalies do not affect our sales volume. However, we play an important role in the following segments: table salt (food industry and direct consumption), water treatment systems and chemical industry (electrolysis salt).

The CIECH Group with its production capacity of 550 thousand tonnes per year is the biggest producer of evaporated salt on the Polish market, with a share in domestic capacity of approximately 80%.

In the coming year, the directions and further development of the global salt market will be determined by general eco-nomic development (because of important role of chemical industry in salt consumption) as well as seasonal factors (due to important role of salt in road maintenance in the developed countries). Development of plants in Asia (with regard to synthetic chlorine-alkali and sodium carbonate) will be especially important for the chemical sector. The projected average annual growth rate of salt consumption worldwide is estimated at around 2%. In Europe, the rate may be about two times lower, but in the case of evaporated salt, i.e. in the area where the CIECH Group operates, we expect the average annual market growth at about 1.5%. This is due to the well-proven quality advantage of evaporated salt over other types of salt (rock and sea salt).

Due to global economic, social or demographic trends, specialist products be-come more and more important in the salt industry. There is a growing aware-ness of the need to improve water quality – an increase in demand for salt tablets from many industries and from households is visible. In turn, increas-ing volumes of evaporated salt of pharmacological purity grade are used in pharmaceutical industry. Due to the development civilization diseases related to lifestyle in developed countries, expenditures on health care are growing. The quality of pharmaceuticals also improves, which determines the increase in consumption of salt used in this industry.

The prospects for evaporated salt market development in Europe, including Poland, are stable. The possible quantitative increases will depend on sales dynamics in the sector of highly processed products, e.g. for water treatment systems.

There is a worldwide increase in demand for specialist prod-ucts of the salt industry – salt tablets for water treatment and salt used in the pharma-ceutical industry.

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