The Margherita di Savoia Saltworks, located in Apulia (South Italy), are the largest productive
saltworks in Italy. They are connected with the Apulian wetlands, an important network thanks
of its central geographic position, between the east and west of the Mediterranean basin.
Several species and habitats of European and international interest (Natura 2000 network,
Ramsar list) are present in them.
It plays a significant role as an area of stopover, wintering and breeding along the migratory
routes of birds that cross the Mediterranean. The most interesting migratory and wintering
species is the Numenius tenuirostris (slender-billed curlew), which is the bird most at risk of
extinction in Europe.
Moreover in the early 1990s The Phoenicopterus ruber (greater flamingo) has colonised the
reserve in great number, around 6,000 today, making it the largest concentration of the
species in mainland Italy.
The Margherita di Savoia saltworks are entirely a man-made area, the characteristics of
which (water levels, salinity) are preserved entirely due to sea salt production, which
guarantees all the chemical and physical factors necessary for the survival of these habitats.
It is also worth noting the type of production adopted in the saltworks, which makes it possible
to recover the processing brine, thus eliminating one of the critical factors in the symbiotic
relationship between salt production and environmental protection.
The Northwest Coast of Western Australia is the location for a number of large solar saltfields.
More than 10 million tonnes of high grade solar salt is exported annually from these saltfields;
predominantly servicing the chloralkali industries of Northern and Southeast Asia.
Straits Resources Limited is a mining company with operations in Australia and Indonesia. It
has identified the solar salt industry as an opportunity to diversify its resource portfolio and
build a longer-term position within the resource sector. Access has been approved by the
Government of Western Australia to a large area in the eastern Exmouth Gulf region of
Western Australia suitable for a solar saltfield with an ultimate capacity as high as 10 million
tonnes per annum.
All new resources projects in Australia must proceed through a rigorous environmental
approval process at both the Federal (Commonwealth) and State Government levels.
Straits commissioned a team of saltfield design, environmental and engineering consultants
to design an economically viable saltfield that minimises impacts to the environment. There
has been a series of iterative changes in its design based on feedback from environmental
and cultural heritage studies. This has enabled the saltfield to be specifically located within a
defined footprint to avoid sensitive areas such as mangroves, tidal creeks and algal mats.
Comprehensive studies have been undertaken on the local marine and terrestrial flora and
fauna (including migratory bird and marine fauna), together with surveys for cultural heritage,
soils, hydrology and a sweep of other parameters including hydrodynamic modelling of the
marine environment. A commercial trawling fishing industry operates in the waters of
Exmouth Gulf that is also the permanent home or on the migratory path of a number of
significant marine fauna, including whales, turtles, and dugongs.
The project, known as the Yannarie Solar Project, is progressing through the environmental
approval processes of the Australian Commonwealth and Western Australian Governments.
The conclusion is that the technical findings of the suite of studies that examined the
environmental aspects of the engineering requirements of the saltfield provide a sound basis
for project approval. Assuming that approval is given, and the current schedule maintained,
construction would commence in 2008 and shipments of salt in 2011.
Ecological management plan and its implementation for particular wetland are highly
dependent on securing effective management tools, including management according to the
management plan. The implementation of such a plan requires adequate resources, both in
terms of human and financial support. The article demonstrates an innovative approach of
business company, supporting sound ecological management and restoration of salt making
process in the salt-works and Nature Park in Secovlje Salina (Slovenia).
The Secovlje Salina (6,5 km2), part of the Piran Salinas which comprises adjacent still active
Strunjan Salina and already abandoned Lucija Salina, is situated on the Adriatic coast, at the
mouth of the Dragonja River, in the southernmost stretch of the coastline of the Piran Bay.
The area has been designated a Nature Park by the Government of Slovenia in 2001.
Due to difficult economic situation on the European market of salt, the production of salt in
Secovlje Salina almost ceased. In the year 2003 the salt making company (Soline d.o.o.) has
been bought by the telecommunication company Mobitel d.d. in order to safeguard natural
and cultural heritage and landscape and to maintain the traditional salt making process. This
new model of business relationship proved to be successful for both sides: initial investments
in the reconstruction of salt making and park infrastructure resulted in direct economic
benefits for the business company and for preservation of natural and cultural heritage and
tradition. Public image of telecommunication company has raised: potential customers
appreciate investments of business into protection of nature and culture which resulted in new
subscriptions to the above telecommunication company.
Numerous saltworks have been abandoned throughout the Greek islands and mainland as
operations have decreased in number and increased in size. Such areas have great potential
for serving the broader society if rehabilitated correctly. Changes in landscape uses recently,
especially agricultural practices and rapid expansion of vacation homes and resorts in the
islands, have increased nutrient and sediment loading to coastal bays. Previously, streams
were diverted around saltworks on the coast to avoid contamination of the salt produced.
Rehabilitation of saltworks to accept stream input has great potential to treat nutrient and
other contamination from the landscape via natural biological processes of the ecosystem,
thus reduce loading to coastal areas and potential contamination of resort beaches.
Successfully rehabilitated saltworks will also provide enhanced nature conservation areas
that can become part of regional networks of ecotourism opportunities. Examples of the
potential for integrating rehabilitated saltworks within both the landscape and regional
economy of Greece will be discussed.
Schinias is a small coastal biotope under environmental pressure. Partial drainage of the wetland
and different disturbing activities have degraded ecological habitats and decreased biodiversity
for many decades. Recently, the construction of a rowing centre has restored hydrological regime
and the area has been designated as a National Park; however, application of conservation
measures meets difficulties of social and financial nature. In this paper, bird diversity is used as
an indicator to examine Schinias’ ecosystem state, according to three different scenarios: the first
one refers to the diversity that had been recorded before restoration of the hydrological regime;
the second one refers to the diversity that has been recently recorded and corresponds to the
actual condition of the National Park with the rowing center; the third one corresponds to a
potential diversity that would be observed in case Schinias became a solar saltwork.
Solar saltworks are most efficient converters of solar energy into an inorganic commodity. Conversion
rate of solar radiation into removal of water vapour from the brine takes place with 45%
efficiency. Solar salt requires only a fraction of man made energy compared with salt produced
by solution mining and thermal evaporation. Advanced technologies for biological management,
crystallisation, harvesting techniques and salt processing, allow production of solar salt 99.94%
pure, which is comparable with purity of vacuum salt.
Proper biological management of solar saltworks leads to brine containing less organics. Organic
compounds in brine adversely influence the crystal growth habit, which results in inclusions of
impurities inside the salt crystals. Advanced salt purification technology is able to completely remove
impurities from the salt crystals incurring insignificant salt processing losses.
About 60% of salt produced worldwide is consumed by the chemical industry. High quality solar
salt used as feedstock in membrane cell chloralkali plants causes equally low contaminated effluent
discharge from brine treatment as vacuum salt. Trace elements that may cause membrane
damage, such as iodine, or those elements that are critical to chlorine purity, such as bromine,
are present in smaller quantities in solar salt than in many salts originating from rock salt deposits.
Bird watchers driving in jeeps through solar saltworks may not realise that the vast water fields
hosting flamingos are not only beautiful but that they contribute towards the shift in the environmental
balance in the direction of higher overall ecological benefit as well.
Salt, the world’s best-known mineral, is the chemical substance most related to human
civilization history. Apart from his significance for the creation of life on the planet it has been
used as main commodity for centuries.
Man produces salt by solar evaporation since the dawn of human civilization. Nevertheless,
recognition of the unique coastal ecosystems that developed in parallel with the Solar
Saltworks production process evolution is often lacking. The environmental uniqueness of
Solar Saltworks, particularly current operations, is based on the fact that they are integrated,
constructed coastal ecosystems, where regular and hyper saline environments coexist and
establish high significant shelters for wildlife.
The basic steps of the Solar Salt Production Process Evolution are identified. The biological
process that develops along with the salinity vector in the evaporating ponds and crystallizers
produces food for many kinds of birds. Hundreds of bird species depend on Solar Saltworks
ecosystem to feed and/or nest. Many of them have been identified as endangered species or
protected by European or International conventions.
The operation of the Coastal Saline Wetlands is outlined and compared with Solar Saltworks
ecosystem. We emphasize on the case of “Aliki” lake, which is a natural saline coastal
wetland located in Lemnos, a Northern Aegean Sea Island in Greece.
The commonly accepted brine concentration practice in most Chinese Northern solar works is
to pump the sea water into salt works and then let it go through a physical changing process of
natural evaporation, condensation and crystallization, during which, weather factor and the soil
nature have to be taken into consideration when determining the technologic parameters such
as brine depth, brine protection area, fresh water drainage rate and so on. Meanwhile, different
methods should be employed according to various weather conditions, for example, brine is
concentrated with decided depth and salinity over periods of stable weather conditions
(Spring); rapid brine concentration by deep storage and lower depth brine should be used
during rainy seasons; and in winters, the amount should be increased to keep the salinity.
However, accompanying this physical changing process of salt production is balancing
process of the amount of multi-biology in brine. Every salt work fosters an ecosystem, which
includes algae, bacteria, protoza, menatoza, artemia, sea weed and fish communities.
The low salinity brine is featured of a myriad of algae, which are able to synthesize and
accumulate pigments, elevate the brine’s absorbency of solar energy and quicken the
evaporation speed; the algae, bacteria, organic and inorganic substances on the salt ponds
floor may form a biological pad, performing the functions of brine purifying, soil improvement
and leakage protection. At the same time, the biological pad can block out large amount of
elements and trace elements in the mud on the salt pond floor and the bacteria can effectively
decompose organic crumbs of the solar salt works ecosystem.
The medium salinity brine is dominated by artemia, who are good at sieving the algae, organic
and inorganic substances in brine so as to purify it. The artemia corpse are sources of protein
for red halobacteria, which are capable of increasing the brine staining ability, purifying brine
and promoting the evaporation amount and the salt quality.
In conclusion, a balanced ecosystem is beneficial to salt industry by :
A. culturing bentic communities, available for seizing nutrition and controlling leakage;
B. staining brine to enhance the absorbency of solar energy and evaporation rate;
C. being able to decompose most of its self-generated organics.
The Bidirectional Brine Concentration Technology is meant supplementing the ordinary brine
concentration with ecosystem management, namely, through the artificial adjustment of the
amount of biology to reach the eco-balance. This is composed of two parts:
A. The bio-management of artemia. Combining the concentrated multiplication with culturing
during the whole production process to adjust the community density to a suitable level
and keep the eco-balance in line with scientific standards. As long as the brine salinity
reaches certain level and the artemia food chain starts loosing balance, we will fish
over-thick community and let the resting artemia die in the high salinity area and their
corpse will be used for the source of protein for halobecteria.
B. Selecting and culturing excellent breed of halobacteria.. Let red halobacteria reproduce in
saturated brine and crystallizers and contact a corresponding scientific surveillance. This
helps heighten the brine transparency, lower the brine stickiness and promote the salt
This paper focuses on the structure of the phytoplankton and macrobenthic invertebrates
communities in a productive solar saltworks, as well as the major abiotic determinants of the
observed biotic patterns. The observed patterns in the structure of the biotic communities
attest that the ecosystem of the low salinity ponds of Kalloni Saltworks is similar to a
productive coastal lagoon. Major abiotic determinants include the salinity and confinement
gradients, as well as inorganic nutrients loads. The episodic enrichment of the water column
in the ponds with either new nutrients from the incoming seawater, or regenerated nutrients
released from the sediment, was shown to stimulate the growth to bloom levels of
phytoplankton species indicative of organic enrichment and coastal eutrophication. Algal
biomass and the accumulated detritus and organic matter on and within the sediment are
exploited by opportunistic herbivores and deposit feeders tolerant to organic enrichment.
Management measures are needed for the mitigation of the productiveness of the low salinity
ponds, e.g. lower water residence times, a shallower water column, facilitation of the
oxygenation of the sediment, sediment removal in winter and culture and harvesting of the
naturally occuring, edible Cerastoderma glaucum bivalves.
The goal of every solar saltworks with seawater intake--continuous and economic production
of high quality salt (sodium chloride) at design capacity—requires ability to simultaneously
manage and coordinate physical systems with biological systems in the concentrating and
crystallizing ponds. This effort requires close control of specified salinities, depths, and brine
transfers, frequent surveillance and adjustments of planktonic and benthic communities and
their key microorganisms, and timely recognition and correction of developing problems. This
report reviews features and concepts that facilitate biological and physical management,
considers causes and effects of common and severe disturbances and their solutions, and
provides information that enable biological systems in the ponds of a solar saltworks aid
rather than harm salt production.