Production & industry
The U.S. and China dominate in world salt production, combining for 40% of the world's quarter billion tons of salt produced each year.
Salt producers use three basic technologies to create salt for its myriad uses. Now-buried dried-up oceans of geologic ages past have left many areas, under both land and sea, with concentrated salt sedimentary layers which can exceed fifty feet in thickness. Two technologies exploit these underground deposits: conventional shaft mining where miners go underground to remove solid rock salt and solution mining where water is pumped underground dissolving the solid salt and then pumping out the salty brine which is de-watered to crystallize the salt. The third method extracts salt from oceans and saline lakes, growing salt crystals much as a farmer grows crops of vegetables or grain. Respectively, the products of these technologies are known as rock salt, evaporated salt (or vacuum pan salt) and solar (or sea) salt.
Among the three technologies, most producers around the world are engaged in solar salt production, the least expensive technology available, when favored by a dry and windy climate. But vast quantities of rock salt are extracted in large commercial mines and chemical companies utilize an enormous amount of salt in the form of brine that never is crystallized into dry salt.
Logistical considerations heavily influence production facility site selection decisions and these, in turn, heavily influence the size of production units and the structure of the salt industry. “Countries,” after all, do not produce salt, salt producers do.
Learn more about
Where salt is produced including maps of production locations
How salt is produced, the three basic salt technologies , and others
How much salt is produced annually, according to the latest U.S. Geological Survey report
How much salt has been produced in previous years, according to past U.S. Geological Survey reports
Enormous stride in workplace safety to protect salt workers from injury
How salt is moved from the mine, saltworks or refinery to salt-using customers
How the salt industry designs and operates production plants to avoid environmental impacts
Who produces salt. The salt industry exists in all parts of the world with varying organizational structures