Larmon Pty Ltd, trading as SunSalt, is a privately owned company operated by Duncan and Jan Thomson. The business commenced operating in 1983 producing crude salt from the unlimited supply of underground saline water at Hattah, North West Victoria. With greater than twenty years inland saline water mineral extraction experience, SunSalt has gained significant knowledge and developed distinctive techniques to effectively and efficiently extract value-added salts from inland brines.
Since 1986 the company has installed a refinery consisting of three factories at Hattah for making industrial salts, and more recently a factory in Mildura for the purpose of producing the gourmet pink flake salts, and high grade magnesium sulphate (Epsom salt).
The company employs fourteen full time people as well as eight - ten casual harvesting labour and a permanent contract cartage operator with a crew of five people. We see the contribution of SunSalt to the regional Australian employment as quite significant.
SunSalt is a growing small-medium-size business currently operating at two locations within the Murray Darling Basin:
Spectacle Salt Lake Hattah (NW Victoria 65kms south of Mildura)
Mourquong Basin (13kms NW of Mildura, NSW)
SunSalt are eager to grow further and produce other value-added products from salt and bitterns. The team believe they can produce and market more salt from the Interception Scheme disposal basins.
SunSalt believes with its extensive expertise it is in a good position to assist further in removing salt from the saline waters of inland Australia should the opportunity arise.
Due to the growth in the company in the late 90s, SunSalt found it had insufficient resources and at various times had to purchase salt from others to fulfil its obligations to its clients. As a result the Mourquong Salt Mitigation Basin was chosen as a site offering the potential to provide sufficient quantities of commercial grade salt.
The Mourquong Disposal Basin lies within the Murray Darling Basin, receiving saline groundwater from the Buronga Salt Interception Scheme. A series of bores and pipeline system discharges the saline groundwater into the Mourquong Basin. The Buronga Salt Interception Scheme is a NSW Department of Land and Water Conservation project designed to intercept saline groundwater from entering the Murray River at Mildura.
SunSalt applied for and was granted an Exploration Licence EL 5344 at Mourquong in May 1997. This small-scale exploratory operation proved invaluable in providing the knowledge and healthy data for the next stage. Following this stage the Mining Lease application was prepared and lodged. The normal due processes were administered and the company was granted a full Mining Lease ML 1512 in July 2002. Since operation SunSalt has increased the total salt harvested annually to approximately 23,000 tonnes with plans to increase to 50,000 tonnes.
Salinity is one of Australia’s major environmental issues – SunSalt believe that every tonne removed must assist in some small way! SunSalt were awarded the National Engineers 2005 award for demonstrated applications and systems for helping salinity.