Some 260 million years ago, the Zechstein see slowly evaporated, leaving a huge deposit of salt behind. This salt is nowadays found at a depth of about 100 meters to several kilometres.
Near Veendam, sodium chloride is dissolved and pumped to the surface, after which the brine is purified at a plant in Delfzijl. The process yields high quality sodium chloride.
In Delfzijl, sodium chloride is mostly used to produce chlorine, which is used to create different carbon-chloride compounds, which are intermediates in organic chemistry. The chlorine is transported to businesses in the Netherlands and exported. The conversion of sodium chloride into chlorine is energy intensive, but the production company (Nouryon) is using green electricity of its plant.
Salt production started in 1960 and current sodium chloride reserves will last for decades. The leftovers from the sodium chloride purification process are used to treat slippery roads in the winter.
The company responsible for sodium chloride production in the Chemport region is Nouryon Chemicals (formerly AkzoNobel specialty chemicals).