History

Our company’s history began to take shape about 8 to 10 million years ago, as the Tarapacá Salt Flat began to form. Located in the Tarapacá Desert, 90 kilometers southeast of the city of Iquique in the Tarapacá Region of Chile, this salt fossil formed due to the accumulation of water in a basin where minerals were deposited on a large scale. Considered one of the purest, cleanest places on earth, this salt flat is 45 kilometers long, and averages 5 miles wide, varying between 60 to 120 meters deep at its center. Its resources are not only substantial, but also unique: the Great Tarapacá Salt Flat is composed of highly pure sodium chloride with a level of purity over 98%.


  • In 1895, Don Arturo del Rio saw past the Northern Chile nitrate boom and bought land in the Great Tarapacá Salt Flat with the intention of starting a salt mining business.
  • In 1905, Del Río created the Compañía Explotadora de las Salinas de Punta de Lobos, whose aim was to extract, produce and sell its salt to consumers.

  • In 1960, construction began on a mechanized dock at the port of Patillos. Five years later, the first shipment was made. This was an important step, allowing bulk transport of salt to replace bagging salt, thus reducing both shipping times and freight costs.

  • In 1968 Punta de Lobos joined with Leandro Antonijevic’s company. That same year, they purchased their first warehouse in Talcahuano to supply the demand for salt in that region.
  • In 1970 Punta de Lobos became a closed corporation. Under the name of Punta de Lobos Salinas S.A.M., it began its expansion into new markets.
  • In 1995 the purchase of the shipping company EMPREMAR permitted the beginning of the company’s global expansion, thanks to the development of its logistics and shipping operations.
  • In 2001, Sociedad Punta de Lobos S.A. was acquired by new owners, led by José Yuraszeck, marking the birth of SPL Group, which focused on the company’s global expansion. In November of the same year, SPL acquired the remaining 35% of its subsidiary in the United States, the International Salt Company LLC. (ISCO). Subsequently, in April 2003, it acquired 100% of Salina Diamante Branco Ltda. (SDB) in Brazil.
  • 2006, the German company K+S Aktiengesellschaft (K+S AG), a global leader in salt and fertilizer production, acquired the SPL group. Beginning in 2008, SPL opened its second terminal, with similar characteristics to the first terminal, for shipping and logistics operations at Caleta Patillos, , allowing for shipping capacity to increase to 12 million metric tons per year.
  • In 2013, At an extraordinary shareholders' meeting of Sociedad Punta de Lobos S.A. in 2013, shareholders agreed to change the company’s name to K+S Chile S.A. Internally, they organized the company via the creation of a Latin American corporation, K+S Salt LA, comprised of the Chilean, Peruvian and Brazilian subsidiaries.  Headquarters were established in Chile as the hub from which all countries in North and South America, Africa, Oceania and Asia are served.

  • In 2014 the Plant 4 Mine opened in the Great Tarapacá Salt Flat, hailing a significant increase in production due to improvements in processing and milling.
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