In the late
1930's a gravity survey was carried out by the Geological Institute and after
just a few days of surveying it was felt that there was a large reserve of salt
at a relatively shallow depth. The survey was halted during the Second World
War and resumed during the German occupation where the salt deposits were found
to be in the region of 63km long and 4km wide consisting of salt, rock salt,
magnesium and potassium salts. Final surveying concluded that the economically
viable deposit was 26km long and 2km wide.
The mine was established in
1949 and the first shaft 'Michael' was sunk in 1950, the workings from the
shaft extended to 3km. In 1952 a second shaft 'Barbara' was sunk for the
purpose of ventilation. In 1953 more in depth surveys were carried out and the
exploration of the salt deposits were started at the 450m level. 1954 saw the
first major excavations coming online, including extending the depth of
excavation to the 600m level. Peak extraction occurred in the 1970's with
production amounting to over a millions tonnes per annum. In the late 1960's a
third ventilation shaft 'Brave' was sunk to a depth of 543m. The start of the
1980's saw the depth of excavation increasing to the 750m level.
salt is mined using traditional methods, which help preserve its chemical
characteristics. Most of the chambers excavated are 15m wide, 15m high and up
to 200m long. Current mining takes place at 600m and 750m levels.
salt from Klodawa has a high degree of purity and requires very little
processing, which is only carried out by mechanical means eliminating the need
for chemical treatments. Trace elements found in the salt are magnesium,
manganese, iron, zinc, copper, calcium, potassium and selenium. The salt is
over 250 million year old and was formed when two tectonic plates collided
causing the evaporation of a sea. The salt is deposited in beds of salts domes
and is generally naturally white with shades of greys and pinks. Other colours
also occur such as blue and green, but these are rare. Final salt purity is an
average of 97% sodium chloride.
The salt products from the mine are sold
and marketed directly for a number of applications including - cooking, fish
processing, food industry, tanning processes, livestock farming, chemical
industry, winter road treatments, agricultural fertilisers, water softening and
as therapeutic salt baths.
personnal one person guided trip around the tourist route of the
(Mike), 20th May 2011.