Salt
                                                                   

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Information @ a Glance

General

  • Salt is necessary for the survival of all living creatures, including humans. Salt is involved in regulating the water content that is fluid balance of the body.

  • Salt is a common colorless or white substance that is found both in sea water and in deposits in the earth.

  • Salt is a clear, brittle mineral that contains the elements of sodium and chlorine. Its chemical formula is NaCl; its mineral name is halite. Salt forms clear, cube-shaped crystals.

  • Edible salt, also called table salt or just salt, is a mineral, one of a very few rocks such as calcium commonly eaten by humans. There are different forms of edible salt: unrefined salt, refined salt, table salt or iodised salt.

  • It is a crystalline solid, white, pale pink or light grey in colour, obtained from sea water or from rock deposits.

Process

  • In solar saltworks, salt is harvested from crystallizing ponds as a mixture of salt crystals and mother liquor containing soluble impurities in high concentrations. During storage, the content of soluble impurities is reduced, until is becomes constant after some 6 months. During this period, the humidity of the salt on the stockpile is about 3% but it drops down to approx. 1% thereafter. This phenomenon is known as "rain washing" or as "natural purification".

  • Crystallized salt is produced as slurry which is dewatered first by centrifuging or vacuum drying and then in kiln or fluidized-bed dryers where moisture content of the final product is reduced to 0.05% or less.

  • Iodine is added as potassium iodate to salt after refining and drying and before packing. Iodization can often be linked with existing production and/or refining lines. This can be done by adding a solution of potassium iodate to the salt by wet method or by adding dry potassium iodate powder dry method.

Market

  • The largest user of salt in New Zealand is the meat industry, which uses salt in the treatment of hides and skins.

  • Demand for salt is growing fastest in South Africa which has seen an almost 7% increase in the last twelve months, while the largest salt consuming region is Asia, accounting for 30% of world consumption.

  • A major U.S. salt producer that was the third largest salt producer in the world sold its North American operations for $640 million to an entity formed by affiliates of a private investment firm based in NewYork.

Report

  • U.S. production data for salt are developed by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) from an annual voluntary survey of U.S. salt-producing sites and of company operations. Of the 27 companies to which a survey request was sent, all but two responded, representing 97% of the total production shown in this report.

  • Today about eighty per cent of all salt is produced in Western Australia whereas before 1966 it was South Australia which produced that amount. At present only fourteen per cent of all salt is produced in South Australia.

  • The United States remained the world’s leading salt-producing country, representing 21% of total world output.

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