How Do You Make Salt?

Have you ever wondered how the salt in your saltshaker is made? Where does the salt that’s spread onto the roads come from?

The answer, here in the United Kingdom at least, is the salt comes from underground salt deposits. We use two different methods to extract that salt: Rock Salt Mining and Solution Mining.

Rock Salt Mining

Rock Salt Mining happens underground with the salt being physically dug out of the ground. Enormous machines work in a network of gigantic caverns and tunnels, drilling, blasting and crushing rock.

Most of the salt dug out of the ground is used for keeping the roads free of ice during the winter (or “gritting the roads” as it’s more commonly known)

 

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Solution Mining

This is the most common process used in Northern Europe to make both industrial and edible salt. In solution mining, water is pumped into the underground rock salt deposits to create brine that is then pumped back out to the surface.

The brine is then evaporated in huge evaporating vessels to make the familiar white salt. This salt can be used in industry, by food manufacturers and, of course, at the table.

 

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Brine Evaporation

In hot countries, salt is also produced by allowing the sun to evaporate seawater in shallow pools (or ‘pans’) in a method called Solar Salt Production. Sadly because of our low average temperatures and high rainfall, there’s no solar salt production in the UK.

 

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