Performance and reliability

Performance and reliability

Dampier Salt Limited (DSL) operates three separate salt operations in the hot, dry climate of Western Australia which is a region ideal for solar salt production.

DSL is a market leader with over 40 years of experience and a commitment to four key business drivers - reliability, quality, value and sustainability.

The three site operating strategy, well executed stock management policy and freight strategy, provides greater security, flexibility and confidence in supply to suit the customers' needs.

The operations are spread over a 900 kilometre area which is a key success factor in reliable supply. Rainfall impacts salt production. There is a reduced probability of rain impacting all three operations at one time, compared to companies operating only one salt operation.

In addition Dampier Salt operates with a salt stock policy which requires the retention of sufficient stock at the operations to ensure supply reliability. This stock is held as a combination of dry product and as solid stock in the crystallisers.

Production

Dampier Salt has a production capacity of 10.4 million tonnes per annum, increased from 8.5 million tonnes in 2004. The operations have expansion plans in place to respond to market demand.

Shipping

Dampier Salt charters vessels that can deliver salt to all customers in a variety of shipment sizes. With private berthing and ship loading facilities at Dampier and Cape Cuvier, plus berthing and ship loading facilities at Port Hedland, a loading rate averages between 2,500 and 3,000 tonnes per hour (peak 3,300 tonnes per hour) or 60,000 tonnes per day.

The Dampier berth has depth alongside of 12 metres at LAT (lowest astronomical tide) and can accommodate ships up to 100,000 DWT. At Cape Cuvier and Port Hedland, large Panamax vessels of up to 75,000 DWT can be accommodated.

Freight management is managed between CAUPL and Rio Tinto's specialized marine team. This close working relationship ensures that the product that leaves an operation arrives at the customer's destination at a quality, cost and timeframe they expect.

Utilising its global scale and network benefits and by understanding the cargo movements of different ship owners and the economics of their freight portfolios, Rio Tinto Marine identifies and exploits value creating opportunities for customers.

Dampier Salt utlilises the services of RightShip to ensure a reliable and good quality vessel is selected. RightShip Pty Ltd is a special purpose joint venture company formed by Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton. Both companies concluded in 2001 that in order to provide a consistent ship vetting standard and to drive improvements in ship health, safety and environmental performance that they would be best served by combining previously smaller but independent approaches.

RightShip is comprised of a core group of dedicated ship vetting specialists that aim to raise marine safety standards throughout the world. In doing this, RightShip is clearly focused on safety - the safety of crews, ships, customers' cargoes and the environment.

Since starting as an in-house vetting capability for the founding organisations, RightShip is now performing ship vetting for more than 30 third party users, markedly increasing its ability to influence vessel standards.