SALT RESOURCES OF PAKISTAN
There are three kinds of salt available in Pakistan:
• Sea Salt (Solar Salt)
• Rock Salt
• Lake Salt
Pakistan is one of the few countries in the world to have been bestowed by all the three types of salt available in the world.
SEA SALT (SOLAR SALT)
The sea salt, also known as the solar salt, is the smallest source of salt in Pakistan. It is produced through the evaporation of the sea water. The production of this salt is carried out at 7 different factories of Hub-Pak, with the total production of more than 1,100 tons per day or 330,000 tons per year.
The qualities of the salt produced at each of these factories vary, since the conditions at each factory are different. Karachi enjoys suitable conditions like the excellent sea shore and fast winds all around the year. Keeping this in mind, all the seven factories are located in or around the cosmopolitan city of Karachi.
With the ideal conditions in the city, the purity level of salt can go up to 98% of purity at times. Depending on the season and the individual factory management, the purity levels vary between 95% and 98%. Average rainfall in Karachi is quite low throughout the year. This helps in the production of solar salt.
The Rock Salt found in Pakistan is arguably amongst the best that can be found in the world. The purity levels of these rock salts can go up to 99% with minimum impurities. There are four different types of rock salts, in term of crystals, namely; pink solid crystals, white solid crystals, soft lumps and soft crystalline lumps. The soft crystalline lumps are so soft that one can easily break them down with their hands only, hence the name.
Pakistan is an excellent country for salt production due to the many salt ranges. The ranges stretch from Kalabagh to Jhelum in the province of Punjab. Other than that, the geological surveys of the Pakistan Mineral Development Corporation (PMDC) have stated that there is about 2.65 billion tons of salt is present in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa alone. Furthermore, the reserves at Bahadurkhel in Kohat are estimated to be 10.54 billion tons.
These salt ranges are quite underutilized and the production of this salt is not sufficient, keeping in mind the importance of the deposits of this important mineral. Currently, the production estimate for rock salt from all the salt mines comes around to about 1,800,000 tons per year.
Lake salt in Pakistan is available in excellent quality and sufficient quantities. It used to be a problem for manufacturers to extract the salt from the lakes due to the difficult routes to the lakes but now with the advancements and development of the infrastructure in Pakistan, the extraction has become easier.
The lakes are located about 300 km from Karachi and the transportation is done using special desert trucks that work round the clock. Currently, a small quantity of 3,000 tons is extracted on a daily basis making the yearly average production to around 900,000 tons.
Hub-Pak has recently started its own harvesting activity at the Ankerio salt lake. This has led to an addition of 2,000 tons of salt to the 700 tons of salt already being harvested.