We are the Saline de Bex
Salt is our passion, our profession and our history.
For more than 500 years, we have been collecting the precious salt crystals of the Sel des Alpes for you year after year.
At the forefront of technology, we have developed tools that allow us to excavate the mountain salt while respecting the environment and the legacy of future generations. In the same vein, we have also become active in another area: the production of electricity with our own hydro-electric plant on the Avançon. Every year, we produce enough electricity to power 2,500 to 3,000 households, and it is all green energy. We feed half of this production into the grid.
The Saline de Bex has been a member of the Swiss Saltworks group since July 2014.
A unique know-how
Day after day, our forty partners apply their know-how to offer the products of excellence of the Sel des Alpes brand. As for the Saline de Bex salt miners, they are the only miners still active in all Switzerland.
Past, present and future
Proud of its past and the centuries of tradition it enjoys, the Saline de Bex remains as ever, a bold and ambitious company resolutely committed to the future. All the various ranges of products it offers are designed with a passion and respect for the environment.
Each and every one of our activities is governed by our ethos to protect our resources and surroundings, and to create sustainable development, both socially and environmentally as well as economically. The Saline de Bex:
- Has its own hydroelectric plant;
- Pays special attention to the well-being of its employees at their place of work. People first, as demonstrated by our Safety Charter.
A few grains of salt in the cogs of history
All the salt on the Earth comes from the sea. Its presence in the oceans is closely linked to the formation of the planet 4.6 billion years ago. The salt you sprinkle on your plate was forged from volcanic gases and the erosion of the Earth's crust, the lithosphere. And yet Switzerland does not border any seas or oceans. It has not done so since the end of the Triassic 200 million years ago. At that time, the ocean covered the entire area that would become the Switzerland we know today. When the sea receded, the salt is remained trapped in the rock of the Alps, perfectly pure and sheltered from any pollution.
It has been known since the 15th century that the region was rich in salt. Legend has it that the chamois and goats of the region preferred to drink from certain areas of water, and this peculiar behaviour did not escape the vigilance of a local boy, Jean du Bouillet (nicknamed Bracaillon). It was simply because the water contained salt. After several small-scale attempts, the industrial excavation of the salt mines began in the 16th century and proved particularly difficult. The work was also threatened with closure on numerous occasions, but there were always those who were passionate enough to give the venture a new chance until technological advances made it possible to excavate the mines on a long term basis.
The Saline de Bex has played a key role in the history of the Canton of Vaud by guaranteeing its supply of salt, back then when it was rare and at the centre of so many economic issues. Between the 16th and the 18th century, lots of saltworks sprang up around the Bex Salt Mine (starting already from 1554!)
Even though the site of the current Bex Saltworks has been around since 1680, the company itself really took off in 1867 when the Société Vaudoise Mines et Salines de Bex was established. It then became the Saline de Bex SA in 2002, before merging with the Swiss Saltworks AG group in 2014.
It was in the Saline de Bex that Antoine-Paul Piccard invented the thermocompression system in 1877. This revolutionary technology has never been toppled, and even today, it is still used by many saltworks around the world.