TechSalt’s mission is to explore and commercialize the rock salt mineral resource at the Campina de Cima Mine. We pretend to reuse the mining space in an innovative way, contribuiting to the dissemination and promotion of Earth Sciences, Mining Industry and Art.
Vision and Values
TechSalt’s Vision is to be a reference partner in the rock salt market, being recognized for the quality of its products based on the offer of innovative solutions, guaranteeing long-lasting relationships combine with superior standards of Safety and respect for the Environment. The Company also intends to generate value for employees, shareholders, suppliers and the community as well.
Regarding to the Company’s intrinsic Values, the main tools of its performance are based on the cultures of Quality, Safety and the defense of the Environment, motivating the development and employee satisfaction.
The values are based on four points that guide the TechSalt’s activity:
With more than half a century of activity, the Campina de Cima Mine has a history that TechSalt Company has been continuing, having a team with high competence in the management, exploration, maintenance and reconverting the use of the mining space.
TechSalt bets on people as being a crucial axis for the competitiveness and sustainability of the company’s activity.
In addiction to the constant improvement, TechSalt seeks to explore new ideas, methods and solutions, complementing with the creation of a unique thematic and art museum space.
At TechSalt we have the ambition to achieve high standards of quality, safety and respect for the environment, as well as the cultural appreciation of the community where the company operates.
The Company Logo includes a drop, that’s the smallest visible slat water particle and a cube that represents the chemical form of NaCI (salt) in which salt water is transformed after evaporating. Thus, we also have the base element of the brand represented trough a technical element and a common element, which gives a global view to the logo and that’s why experts in the field and non-specialists can create greater empathy with the brand. Diagonal lines add dynamism and represent the beginning of everything – the drop. The geometric shape aligns with the structure of the molecular representations, passing on at the same idea of all the interactivity inherent to the activity. The blue color represents salt water and red represents the clay minerals. The straight and elegant lettering gives the sobriety of science and technology.
Design by Susana Lousa
THE CAMPINA DE CIMA MINE HISTORY
In the 50s, the 20th century, all the area of Campina de Cima at the then village of Loulé, had some agricultural farms that were especially dedicating to raising cattle which would need a good amount of food and in order to produce it, water would be imperative.
With the support of the “grémio da lavoura”, several surveys were initiated with the aim of capture water in deep aquifers, in order to minimize some periods of frequent drought that was constant in the region. In the achieved surveys, there was nothing more than the usual water in the area, however, it was concluded that in depth, there was a salinization of the water and that’s how rock salt was discovered. There was also the expectation of having potassium chloride salts, instead of sodium chloride and for that reason, a set of geological and geophysical studies was carried out and complemented by some dozen surveys in a vast area around Loulé.
In 1963 the company CLONA – Mining of alkaline salts S.A.R.L was founded and decided to carry out a final set of surveys that came to prove the existence of a large amount of rock salt.
In January of 1964, a group of highly specialized miners initiated the construction of the two access wells to the interior of the Campina de Cima Mine. Those miners were working in S.Domingos Mine before, and there they acquired all the knowledge and when that mine closed in 1966, they came to work to our Rock Salt Mine.
Two years later, through a gallery with 230 meters depth, at the -30m elevation, the two well were connected, allowing an efficient ventilation and making possible the beginning of the mine exploration, using the chamber and pillars method.
At the end of the 70s, the company was acquired by the José de Mello Group with the purpose of providing rock salt to the chemical industries of Barreiro – Quimigal S.A. and Estarreja – Uniteca S.A.
After 50 years of exploration, the work has already exceeded 35 km of galleries, making it possible to access all the points of exploration in perfect safety conditions and for that very reason, we are facing the largest possible to visit underground space in Portugal.
At Campina de Cima Mine, rock salt is exploited by a Portuguese State concession.
The last concession, in December 1992, corresponds to an area of approximately 1200 ha. The largest annual production of the mine, 1989, was over 124,000 tons of rock salt ore, with a quality expressed in the amount of sodium chloride, NaCl, with a value equal to or higher than 93.5%.
Regarding to the history of the mine, it is possible to state that it’s a very good example of that popular Portuguese saying, "the need sharpens the ingenuity".
It was the first mine in Portugal:
- Using flexible cables in the elevators instead of rails, even before the mine law predicted;
- Having diesel machinery working underground instead of electric trains involving lots of rails, wagons, traction machines and related equipment;
It was the second mine in Portugal using the civilian explosive called ANFO (ammonium nitrate + fuel oil), that was, back in that time, the most economical in mining, referring to the dismantling yield.
Also, it was the second mine to load the holes with bulk ANFO, manufactured in the mine, to which the explosive charge was added, enabling a significant cost reduction.
In 1983, acquiring the first continuous mining brushcutter machine for a punctual attack, there was a major technological advance in terms of Portuguese territory.
Until 1987, the exploration continued to be carried out using two types of dismantling, explosives and the brushcutter machine using the punctual attack. Also, in 1987, the second brushcutter was acquired. Two years later, explosives were left aside as well as the three shifts, which sometimes employed 180 miners. Then we started working only in two shifts, with less than 70 workers.What seems to be a serious reduction in the number of employees, it means the increase of the work quality, that goes from being very hard and heavy, to softer, more efficient and much safer work conditions.
In 1993, the extraction tower for well 2 was closed because having been operating for many years and always in contact with the rock salt, proved to be too fatigued to continue its mission. In the process of direct management of the project by the company CLONA S.A., a modern extraction tower was built in the space of the previous one, with an extraction capacity around 100 t / hour.
Simultaneously, the standard of environmental care is raised around the extraction tower, with the construction of an ore loading tunnel for trucks attached to the extraction tower. Due to all those technologies, the work went from 42 to 38 workers in the company universe.
In 1995, a third brushcutter was acquired and the work, in shifts, starts to be more efficient.
In 1997, began a study related to an automatic ore loading station for the elevators (skips), which is entirely designed and developed by the technical staff of the mine. In 2000, this station was built in metalwork and assembled at the mine, according to a work program, fully complied with by CLONA S.A. employees.
With this improvement, it became possible to work at a certain pace in the extraction, reducing the dependence on human nature and at the same time started to work with 36 workers.
EIn 2005 the company CLONA S.A., was merged into Quimigal - Química de Portugal S.A. owned by the CUF Group, and in that same year its name became CUF - Químicos Industriais S.A.
Still during 2005, CUF-QI decided that the Loulé rock salt would be replaced by another type of salt and the Loulé mine entered the design phase to dedicate itself to the production of salt for new applications, such as animal feed and road safety in winter periods. In 2007, the production of these products begins, for the foreign and national markets, and the quality of rock salt is adequate for these purposes.
Em 2018 a CUF – Químicos Industriais S.A. assume um novo branding, Bondalti Chemicals S.A. e sem que o negócio de exploração de sal-gema fizesse parte do core business decide procurar um novo acionista para a mina Campina de Cima.
In 2018 CUF - Químicos Industriais S.A. takes on a new branding, Bondalti Chemicals S.A. and without the rock salt exploration business being part of the core business, it decides to look for a new shareholder for the Campina de Cima Mine. In 2018, the company Tech Salt S.A. was formed, which took over the exploration of the mine in August 2019, giving rise to the opportunity to observe the mine as a multi-disciplinary rock salt production unit. Faced with this new challenge and with a sense of responsibility to maintain exploration and to contribute to the growth of employment and geological knowledge in the Algarve, it started visiting activities in the mining industry and geology, justified by the aptitude and safety of the Campina de Cima mine. The challenges in this new area are great and have an investment and innovation program that corresponds to a greater offer of products over time.
At Campina de Cima Mine (C-17) Tech Salt S.A. explores, analyzes, processes, extracts and certifies the rock salt supplies for different applications
Tech Salt S.A. is recognized by DGAV, in which it is registered as a producer of the rock salt by-product of mineral origin intended for animal feed. The different rock salt products intended for Animal Feed have a production cycle, which meets the hygiene requirements of animal feed established in Regulation (EC) No. 183/2005 of the European Parliament and of the Council, of 12 January. The rock salt composed of minerals of halite (common salt), clay, plaster and other salts, such as potassium chloride and magnesium chloride, is a supplier of accessory minerals beneficial to the development of animals through their incorporation in rations. With a grain size suitable for direct incorporation into the feed, or with a coarser grain size intended for grinding at the time of incorporation, rock salt can be supplied in bulk, in big-bags or in 25 kg bags.
Tech Salt S.A. develops its products for the Maintenance of Winter Feasibility in compliance with the standards NP EN 16811-1: 2019 and with reference to the standard NF P98-180. The rock salt of Mina Campina de Cima, with its accessory mineral constituents, allows an effective action at lower temperatures when compared to other salts. The granulometric distribution is always adjusted to comply with the specifications and simultaneously to the type of road on which it will be used. Due to the mineral composition and granulometry of rock salt, we seek to obtain a quick defrost and simultaneously with reduced specific consumption in order to promote road safety and the environmental preservation of aquifers and flora in the surroundings of the intervened roads. The rock salt for defrosting can be supplied in bags, in big-bags and in bulk. Due to the low humidity of the product and granulometric corrections, its use will be adequate in large capacity silos. This information does not dispense with consulting product specifications.
Through the spreading of rock salt, it is possible, without resorting to high-cost chemical products and with a small environmental footprint, to control the weed vegetation of sidewalks and roads. In terms of the safety of the operation, it has personal risks for the operator and very small passers-by, when compared to the application of spray products that affect the airways, eyes, and skin. Its effectiveness is longer lasting, lowering operating costs.
Pure rock salt can be used directly in water softeners or in swimming pools. We supply in 25 kg bags. Also, in decoration combined with therapeutic properties this can be the ideal salt. If your area is cuisine you can have access to rock salt stones for making food directly on the plates, giving a unique taste of a natural salt with 230 million years old. Contact us and explain your need, we can advise!
Fininho (Slender), the mine mascot, and his friend Salty, invite us to an adventure in which:
- At 230 m depth, under the city of Loulé, we discover the history of the rock salt mine and admire the 230 million years old geological formations.
- In an interpretation route on foot, inside the mine, with about 1.3 km, we discover the evolution of rock salt mining processes.
- The geological importance of the mine in the region and the applications of Rock Salt throughout the history of man until today are discovered.
As the mine is an underground environment, it is important to consider the following premises: • People who suffer from scotophobia (fear of the dark) or claustrophobia (fear of closed spaces) or who feel uncomfortable in spaces as underground public transportation, underground garages and natural caves or mines, should not visit the mine.
• The temperature in the mine remains stable throughout the year, between 23 and 24 Celsius degrees.
• The descent into the mine is carried out in a cage with a maximum capacity of 7 people and the trip takes about 3 minutes.
• Comfortable clothing and shoes, preferably closed, are recommended.
The ticket includes the descent into the mine, a guided pedestrian tour of about 1.3 km for which the necessary personal protective material is provided: helmet, flashlight and reflective vest and at the end of the tour all the equipment will be returned to the guide.
Children under 6 years of age will not be able to do the tour and the visit of children between 6 and 12 years of age, is only allowed, if the children are with an adult. It is recommended that there is always at least an adult for every ten children.
Visitors can always eat inside the mine, but only if it does not delay the visit of your group and does not result in the production of any waste. Inside the mine there are water points available for visitors.