Salt extraction was discontinued in Wieliczka in 1996. Today, the “white gold” is no longer extracted using mining methods; however, salt is still produced here. Do you know how that's possible?
There are many underground watercourses that seep into the Mine. The natural properties of water are such that it can wear away even the toughest rock. Fresh water dissolves salt and therefore cannot flow freely in the Mine, uncontrolled by anyone. Each leak is properly marked, described and catalogued, and the water is collected and discharged to a designated location – a huge tank at Level eight.
The brine is then pumped to the surface to the Salt Water Disposal Facility, commonly known as the “saltworks”. In this modern plant, launched in 2003, water is heated and evaporatedunder very low pressure . The result of this process is pure evaporated salt. It is used in homes, but it also has other applications, such as cosmetics. Currently, the production of evaporated salt in Wieliczka amounts to several tons per year.
Good to know:
- In Wieliczka, rock salt is no longer mined, but evaporated salt is still produced from brine.
- Drainage of water from the Mine is necessary because fresh water dissolves salt.
- The production of salt in Wieliczka is several thousand tons per year.