How is road salt made? And what is road salt made of? You may be wondering if you’re purchasing this year’s salt bag, especially if you have some prized landscaping to protect.
What is Road Salt Made Of?
All road salt is, at its core, the same mineral — sodium chloride. You may be surprised to learn that this is identical to what you sprinkle on your scrambled eggs in the morning.
With salt, the size and coarseness of the grain is everything. Fine, powdery white salts are reserved for kitchen use, while the chunkier, rougher pebbles of off-colour salt are preferred for giving our vehicles traction on the road and breaking up ice on our front steps.
Salt isn’t the only ingredient in the bags of road salt you buy. Treated salts have chemical coatings that can help the salt work faster or melt ice better. Treated salt is frequently called ice melt. We’ve previously talked about the difference between ice melt and road salt.
How is Road Salt Made?
You may also be curious about where the road salt on your driveway came from. In Mississauga, it’s likely that your salt comes from the largest salt mine in the world, the Sifto Salt Mine in Goderich, Ontario. The mine taps into an ancient salt deposit beneath Lake Huron.
Salts used in cooking, from table salt to pink Himalayan salt, are often extracted from salt water with heat from the sun. That process makes fine grains that are palatable. But such tiny particles are no good for sidewalks.
Instead, miners must travel 1,600 feet below Lake Huron to access a mineral salt deposit. Heavy machinery chews into the salt and brings it to the surface. Then, salt production companies grade the salt, turn it into the right sized chunks, and send it off.
There are other mining methods, like solution mining, that may have been used on your salt if it is from another mine. In solution mining, miners pump water into the mine. It dissolves the salt. Then, miners pump the water back up and evaporate the salt. Before modern equipment was available, this was the only way to mine salt.
Pick Up Your Road Salt
Lane’s Landscaping Supplies has road salts for all. If you’re concerned about the effect salt will have on your landscaping, discover how to protect your landscaping surfaces from road salt by downloading your copy of our e-book on that very topic.
Now when you pick up this year’s bag of road salt, you can appreciate the long journey it’s been on, from thousands of feet in the ground, all the way up to your driveway.