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   August 30 – September 1, 2024  

Learn about the Goderich Salt Mine!

Goderich - The Worlds Largest Underground Salt Mine

Goderich - The Worlds Largest Underground Salt Mine

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Salt in Goderich

Even though dazzling white salt from Goderich outclassed the more famous English salt by winning first prize at the 1867 Paris Exhibition, mass production of salt in Goderich did not begin until 1880. Workers placed rows of 100 cast iron kettles, carrying 120 to 140 gallons of pumped brine each, on wood-burning furnaces. This evaporation process produced a fine flake salt. However, as wood fuel was consumed the cost escalated. In an effort to streamline the process, mine managers replaced the shallow steel pans with kettles and introduced coal. Still the process proved too expensive and the salt too coarse. By 1910, managers modernized operations with the vacuum pan process, consisting of one vertical steel tank with internal heating tubes conducting steam. This cost-effective operation produced granular salt crystals widely used for table salt.


Surprisingly, mining in Goderich didn't occur until the late 1950s. Engineers finished construction of a  mine shaft in 1959 so miners could descend almost 550 meters to crush rock salt for winter roads and water softeners. A second shaft became operational in 1968 and a third shaft was added in 1983. Since then both the Goderich evaporation and the Goderich salt Mine have both operated in the Town of Goderich. More information will be available soon about the history of Salt, but please check out the Salt story on the History page for the Huron Salt Route History.

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DRILL-AND-BLASTThe drill-and-blast mining method begins by cutting into the rock salt face using specialized equipment. We then drill holes into the face and use explosives to break the salt into large rocks. Front-end loaders and trucks load and haul the salt to a crusher where it is reduced in size, loaded onto a conveyor belt and transported to a mill. The mill screens and crushes the rock salt to the customary size before the salt is hoisted to the surface.

CONTINUOUS MININGThe continuous mining method, which we employ at our Winsford, Cheshire, and Goderich, Ontario, mines, uses state-of-the-art machines with steel cutting picks to shear salt from the rock face, thus avoiding the need for explosive. Whether produced through drill-and-blast or continuous mining, we extract salt from each mine in rectangular “room” sections, leaving behind vast “pillars” of salt to support the mine structure.

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