West Virginia Mineral Industries - Salt

Dividing Line

Much of the northern panhandle and north-central portion of the State are underlain by bedded salt deposits over 50-feet thick. These deposits are part of the Salina Formation and occur between 5,000 and 9,000 feet below the surface. They have been produced for many years by solution-mining through deep wells. In the solution-mining process, wells are drilled down to the salt zone and fresh water, pumped down an injection well, dissolves the salt which is pumped back to the surface through an adjacent well.

It has been estimated that West Virginia has enough salt resources to supply the nation's needs for 2,000 years. During recent years, production has been about 600,000 to 1,000,000 tons per year. One company accounts for all the production and consumes the material near the production site to manufacture chlorine, caustic soda, and derivatives for a variety of chemical processes.

(adapted from a compilation by Hobart M. King and Claudette M. Simard, updated September 1996)

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