Rio Tinto announced that Dampier Salt Ltd. will sell the Lake MacLeod salt and gypsum operation in Carnarvon, Western Australia, to Leichhardt Industrials Group for $251 million. The sale is expected to close  by the end of the year.

“The sale of Lake MacLeod will enable Dampier Salt to focus on enhancing operational efficiencies at its remaining two Pilbara operations, while allowing the new owner of Lake MacLeod to maximize its potential,” Rio Tinto’s Managing Director Port, Rail & Core Services, Richard Cohen, said.

Leichhardt has committed to retaining all Lake MacLeod employees.

Lake MacLeod is one of three solar salt sites owned by Dampier Salt, which also includes operations in Dampier and Port Hedland. It consists of a 1.5-million-metric-ton-per-year (mt/y) salt operation, 1-million-mt/y gypsum operation, as well as a deepwater port at Cape Cuvier.

Dampier Salt is a joint venture between Rio Tinto (68%), Marubeni Corp. (22%) and Sojitz (10%). It is the world’s largest exporter of seaborne salt with annual production capacity of approximately 10 million mt.