Where Does Industrial Salt Come From?

Industrial salt has a staggering list of applications, and with several hundred million tonnes of salt mined or produced annually, it is no wonder that rock salt, or halite, is available from a variety of different sources.

Industrial salt may be a fairly inexpensive commodity, but the widespread application of rock salt has increased the quality control and labor practices worldwide.

Two Ways To Produce Industrial Salt

There are basically two ways to produce industrial salt on a large scale. The first is to evaporate salt from widely available sea water in large geographical basins. The second is the mining of rock salt from actual salt mines.

Until recently, the US has been the major exporter and producer of salt, both evaporating salt from sea water and mining salt in the Great Lakes region. Most salt in the UK, used for transit safety, is mined domestically. China has become the world’s largest exporter of salt, while nations in North America are no longer able to produce enough salt to cover the rapid increase in demand for industrial salt.

Since a variety of manufacturers require large amounts of industrial salt, perhaps several hundred tons, salt mines for the production of halite have begun across the globe. Most of these minds are located in South America or Africa, with a few mines in Southern Europe and Asia. For the western hemisphere, acquiring salt usually involves a combination of domestic purchase and purchase from salt mines overseas.

Where Rock Salt is Mined

Halite, or rock salt, is heavily mined in Egypt and several other countries in North Africa. These salt mines account for a significant percentage of the global production of rock salt, which totals at nearly 300 million tonnes.

Although Inda, the US, Germany, and China account for the largest export of salt, halite mines in Africa are increasing in popularity due to more competitive pricing and more efficient trans-ocean shipment methods.

Since rock salt is used by governments at the national and local level for transit safety, a shortage of salt from one location means seeking another in short order.

Salt is frequently shipped overseas in order to account for domestic shortages, but, since there are so many salt-producing nations available, the main concern is infrastructure and reliable shipment.

In the end, even those businesses within nations which seem to be self-sustaining in terms of industrial salt production must answer to the laws of the market, and cheaper industrial salt shipped across bodies water may be the most viable solution.

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