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Salt Production in Victoria: How Salt is Produced and the Role of Lake Tyrrell in the Industry

Updated: Dec 10, 2023

In 2017, the global salt market was worth 13.6 billion USD. With Australia being one of the world's largest exporters, salt is an important resource produced across the country.

Salt can be produced in a 3 main ways: deep shaft mining, solution mining and solar evaporation. Deep shaft mining works much like mining for any other mineral and solution mining involves adding water to dissolve salt from salt beds before taking the brine to a treatment facility where it is dried and refined. In Australia, harvest via solar evaporation is the most common. In this process, wind and sun evaporate water from shallow seawater and salt lakes to produce almost 100% sodium chloride. Only areas with low annual rainfall and high evaporation rates can produce salt in this way making inland Australia ideal for this type of salt production.

In Victoria, all salt production now comes from harvesting salt lakes and pans in the semi arid Wimmera and Mallee regions of the state. The largest of these salt lakes and the largest source of Victorian salt is Lake Tyrrell.

Located just out of Sea Lake in the Mallee region of Victoria, Lake Tyrrell is the largest salt lake in the state at over 200 square kilometres. During summer, evaporation on the lake leaves a slat crust that, when harvested is over 99% sodium chloride.

When the salt has crystallised and formed a crust, it is lifted from the lakebed using mechanical harvesting equipment. After harvest, the salt is washed and piled into large stacks before being sent to refineries where it is crushed, dried and packaged.

Lake Tyrrell is a growing tourist destination in the region due to the stunning reflections it produces in the wetter months and the gorgeous pink hue it acquires as the weather warms up. This one spot is an integral part of multiple industries in the area and well worth seeing.

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