In former times, the production volume of Aral salt reached 600.000 tons annually. This amount was enough to provide all the 15 republics of the Soviet Union. Now it’s only 250.000 tons which are sold exclusively on the domestic market. Times have changed and even salt has become different…
The reserves of salt in the southern basin contain 11 million tons. It’ll be enough for another 40-50 years. The lake needs about 35-45 years to completely restock itself.
Salt is formed after the evaporation of highly concentrated salt brine.
The thickness of the salt layer is about 1.5 meters. Its extraction is held every two years: from May to November.
In six months, rubber boots are so corroded by salt, that they have to be changed. About 100 workers are involved into salt production, transportation and unloading. In addition to them, about 700 people work at the Araltuz plant.
In the old days, people extracted salt manually, being in the concentrated salt water for hours.
The deposit is located 10 km from the village where live about 6.000 people. All of them strive for working at the plant. The average wage there is 30-35 thousand tenge (about $ 205-235).
Once the salt is extracted, it is put into gondola cars and transported to the place where it’s stored for a while.
The height of the salt mountain reaches 25 meters.
A bulldozer collects and piles salt.
Then it hardens, and one has to explode it with ammonites.