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Green commercial success

Jastrzębska Spółka Węglowa is not only a producer of high-quality coking coal, it is also one of Poland's largest producers of evaporated food-grade salt.

photos: Jacek Stefaniak

“Dębieńska Salt”, thanks to its unique properties, is recognized not only by Polish gourmets. Its qualities are also appreciated by consumers in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Germany. “Dębieńska Salt” was born out of concern for the environment. The project combines the challenges posed by ecology with the hard rules of business. It is implemented by Przedsiębiorstwo Gospodarki Wodnej i Rekultywacji (PGWiR), which is part of the JSW Group. PGWiR S.A.’s Desalination Installation in Czerwionka-Leszczyny treats the brines that are released from the rock mass during mining operations. This prevents the discharge of highly saline waters into the surrounding rivers, and the resulting evaporated salt has physical and chemical properties that are particularly valued by the food industry. 

“Concern for the environment is one of the priorities of Jastrzębska Spółka Węglowa, which follows directly from the development strategy of the JSW Group. The desalination system that protects our surface waters and rivers is an essential part of it. Our project proves that ecology can pay off, i.e. bring tangible economic benefits,” said Krzysztof Baradziej, president of PGWiR S.A. 

Each year, “Dębieńsko” treats nearly 1.6 million cubic meters of brine, producing approx. 65,000 tons of high-quality food-grade salt. It has a crystalline purity of 99.4% NaCl, so it meets quality parameters that are difficult for other manufacturers to achieve. It also has many elements that are valuable for health, such as magnesium. The Plant has a quality control systems thanks to which “Dębieńska Salt” meets high standards, sanctioned by certificates and permits required in the food industry.
The salt production process is carried out using a technology unique in Europe, developed in the United States and Sweden. Brine concentration and salt evaporation is automated and digitally controlled. It uses the process of reverse osmosis and vapor recompression. The equipment of the process line is made of titanium and top-quality steel, among other materials.

“We are currently the second producer of evaporated table salt in Poland, ahead of such well-known producers as the Wieliczka salt mine. “Dębieńska Salt” is a brand with an established market position. It has won it thanks to its high quality, combined with exceptional properties. The most important is resistance to clumping. This means that food manufacturers using our salt do not have to add chemicals to their products to offset this phenomenon. This is a property of significant importance for companies specializing in organic food products, and this is a market sector with the highest growth rate,” stressed Tomasz Dzierżawa, Sales and Marketing Director at PGWiR S.A.

“We keep a close eye on the market, adapting to the changing reality. In recent months, the war in Ukraine has disrupted supply chains from the east, destabilizing the domestic salt market. To help normalize it, we put our reserves on sale. A similar situation occurred in Ukraine, where in the first months of the Russian invasion we shipped nearly 5,000 tons of salt to mitigate the effects of the salt shortage across our eastern border,” the director added. 

The business and environmental “Dębieńska Salt” project continues to develop and does not stop at improving the brine treatment process. Production and storage buildings are being thermally upgraded, and PGWiR is receiving so-called white certificates for the work already done.

“While enjoying the taste of their daily meals, few people realize that they are eating salt obtained from mine brines. As you can see, protecting the environment can be commercially successful, and ecology and business can complement each other perfectly,” concluded Krzysztof Baradziej.

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