Our common understanding of salt is that salt is that minute component of our everyday dishes. Even how it was brought forth is not common to everybody but has remained a mystery to those who wonder how it came about.

The mobile learning team has had a doubt of this mystery and decided to embark on a 10 day research project to fully discover the mystery in which ever dimension it took us.

Salt, aside our meals are a very powerful and most specifically important mineral resource in many fields of its possible applications. From the chemists perception, salt is a chemical compound which is made up of two elements; Na (Sodium) and Cl (chlorine) bonded ionically to give its crystalline nature. It is simply referred to as common salt. There is several type of salt in the chemistry world but are all not edible to man except the common salt mentioned above. This piece of information is basically about how this mineral is acquired to be what we see it to be or where it comes from and how it is obtained from such source.

The salt is beneath the earth crust and from Sterling Industry (a salt mining industry situated in Afiadenyigba, Volta Region of Ghana) when they pump water from below the earth surface of about 100 meters or even further, it was salty which means that there was a dissolved salt in the water. The concentration of the salt in the water propounded its usefulness for crystallization where the solid salt can be obtained even after exposing it to the sun’s energy. This process as they termed was solar salt mining which basically is about using the sun’s energy to crystallize salt from its solution (i.e. the underground water).

Sterling industry is a salt mining industry that harnesses the sun’s energy which helps them to extract the salt as easy as possible. On the mining field, there exists about 25 reservoirs; (for temporary storage of water). Water is pumped into a head reservoir which transfers it to the remaining 24 in an order of numbers. The idea that made their process as possible is given below:

  • When salt dissolves in water (i.e. taking an amount), a degree of salt taste in the water is generated which becomes the density of the salt in the water.
  • When the water is short of volume and the amount f salt is kept the same, the degree of saltiness becomes fairly large.
  • A point is reached where crystals of the salt begins to form (i.e. the water volume is almost zero). At this point the density of the salt has reached its maximum point of forming crystals. This degree was 25 as demonstrated by sterling industry by measuring the density of the solution with a hydrometer.

So, in each reservoir, the density of the salt increases randomly in the range 0.9 – 1.5. At 25, the water could form salt but still in the reservoir so a special set of reservoirs were constructed which they called crystallizers. In the crystallizers salt is formed. The salt is then harvested by machines such as tractor which carries the harvested salt and others which do the actual liftoff of the salt from the crystallizers. Below is a plan of the work field (mining field) of Sterling Industry.

From the plan, Sterling industry is a large Industry which is soon to be ranked the largest salt mining industry in West Africa. The total area of the mining field is about 4000 acres of land. Each reservoir is sized 100 meters by 100 meters in area.

Our journey to sterling salt industry has made it our team discovered this mystery of salt.

We have been satisfied with ideas on;

  • How salt is mined as described briefly above
  • How to choose a good area for Industrial purpose mining
  • How to set up a salt mining industry for ourselves as a very good source of income
  • Salt twin brother; gypsum which can result from defects of the density factor. Gypsum is used to produce cement.
  • Salt several uses apart from preparing our meals. Salt is also used in refining crude oil and to feed some farm animals and other purposes as well
  • The problems salt can cause. Even though salt is helpful it is dangerous to our body and thus proper handling specifically is the mining industry must ensure.
  • Having satisfied our quest, we are bold to say as a team that; salt, our life, salt our friend and chance.