Salt has a long history with humans and has been used since ancient times to preserve and flavor foods. In fact, ancient civilizations were often founded near salt deposits. Global trade was once propelled by the demand for salt and in some cultures, it was even used as currency. Today, it continues to hold a prominent place in international trade and many countries work to extract it. There are three major salt production techniques: solar evaporation, rock mining, and vacuum evaporation. Salt is a valuable commodity for human consumption, industrial applications, and as a deicing tool. The top salt exporters in the world are discussed below.
Top Salt Exporters
The number 1 salt exporter in the world is the Netherlands. This country exports an estimated value of $277,913,000 in salt on a yearly basis which represents just over 9% of the global salt supply. The Hengelo and Delfzijl mines are some of the oldest in the region.
Next, on the list is Germany with $205,826,000 in salt exports annually. The salt market in Germany has seen considerable growth over the last five years particularly in salt for human consumption and industrial salt.
Taking third place in global salt exports is Chile. This South American country exports $189,179,000 worth of salt every year. Rock salt mining is located in the Atacama Desert and supplies the US with the deicing salt that is needed for winter snowstorms.
After Chile, the 4th highest salt exporter is Canada with $170,906,000 of salt exported. Canada is home to the largest salt mine in the world, Sifto Canada, and it is located in Goderich, Ontario. The Sifto Salt Mine covers an area of 2.7 square miles. Ontario is important to the Canadian salt market because it borders Lake Huron and Lake Erie where salt is found on the shores.
Number 5 on the list exports $154,741,000 worth of salt every year. Mexico is host to the largest sea salt plant in the world on the Baja California Peninsula. Ownership is shared between the Mexican government and the Japanese enterprise, Mitsubishi. The majority of Mexican exports go to Japan, the US, Canada, Taiwan, Central America, and Korea.
The next country is also located in North America. The United States makes the list of salt exporters in 6th place and exports a value of $148,313,000 annually. This country is also the second highest producer of salt in the world. The salt producing regions in the US include Louisiana, Michigan, New York, and Virginia.
India follows closely behind the US by exporting $129,097,000 worth of salt every year and like the US is one of the top producers of salt in the world.
The Other Leading Exporters
The remaining countries on the list export less than $100 million of salt annually. These countries are located throughout Europe although some African countries and one Asian nation also make the list. The remaining top salt exporters include: Belgium ($79,767,000), China ($75,523,000), France ($73,443,000), Spain ($65,751,000), Belarus ($59,500,000), United Kingdom ($59,417,000), Austria ($58,059,000), Denmark ($48,330,000), Egypt ($43,153,000), Italy ($42,703,000), Tunisia ($41,215,000), Ukraine ($36,163,000), and Poland ($33,075,000).
Applications of Salt
Salt is one of the most common products available to humans. Despite this fact, it is easy to forget or disregard its origins and uses. Salt has more than 14,000 applications mainly in the chemical industry. This need is followed by the demand for highway deicing and then kitchen use. Whatever its use, the countries in this article do more than their part to ensure that the world has access to this valuable mineral. The market and worldwide demand for salt are also expected to increase in the future.