Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Salting the Roads

We were hammered last night by Lake Effect snows again. It's wet, heavy snow and murder to shovel. Here in Western NY we could not get by with out the salt on the roads even though its murder on cars and trucks. Between 1878 and 1895, over 35 mining companies were formed in New York’s Wyoming and Livingston Counties here in Western, NY to mine salt. In 1884, the first shaft salt mine was constructed in Livingston County at a cost of $600,000. Previously, all other facilities in the area were wells that extracted brine, which was then evaporated to obtain the salt. The shaft salt mine increased production capacity and efficiency.

The extraction of salt in Western New York covers a vast geographic region. Mine shafts that were formerly operating in the hamlets of Retsof, Greigsville, and Cuylerville were eventually all connected underground, comprising an area even larger than the island of Manhattan. In 1994, due to a flooding of this network, the Retsof mine was closed after an earth quake.

In 1997 the American Rock Salt Company was established with the vision of creating a new mine and tapping into the underground salt reserves that had been left undisturbed. After securing the required permits and purchasing 10,000 acres of mineral rights and 200 acres of surface property, American Rock Salt broke ground in 1998 for a new mine, ten miles away from all previous mining sites. Construction of the mine at Hampton Corners took more than three years. American Rock Salt built the mine using traditional techniques that have proven over time to be the best approach for safety and success.

The American Rock Salt mine is the first successful salt mine to be built in the United States in over forty years.When the Retsof Mine was abandoned in 1995, 275 miners were without work. In 1997, several New York State businessmen started a new company named American Rock Salt (5520 Rt. 63, Mt. Morris, NY 14510). This was the first new salt mine in the country in 40 years. The Hampton Corners Mine, 10 mi./16 km. from the old Retsof mine, is considered one of the largest and most efficient salt-producing facilities in the United States. The company estimates that it will be able to produce 3 million tons of salt per year for the next 80 years and approximately 50 percent of the state's annual salt requirement.

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