Mining Lexicon


Anti-caking Agent, Free-flowing Agent
Anti-caking or free-flowing agents are separating agents which are added to salt to prevent caking or agglutination and to thus maintain free-flowing properties. The most common free-flowing agents are ferrocyanide (E535), calcium carbonate (E170) and magnesium carbonate (E504).


Barrier Theory

The barrier theory is the Carl Ochsenius' (a 19th century geologist) explanation of how rock salt deposits were formed: During the Permian period, more than 230 million years ago, large parts of Central Europe and other regions were covered by an inland sea, which was largely cut off from the open sea by shallow straits, also known as bars or barriers. Since at that time our latitudes possessed a dry, hot climate, the intense solar radiation evaporated the water, like in a gigantic evaporating pan. The salinity of the body of water increased until the dissolved minerals (carbonates, sulphates and then chlorides) crystallized out, like in a giant stewing pan.


Brine is a salt water solution. The term brine is used to refer both to a natural source of salt water and a solution created by dissolving salt in water.



In mining, a cavern is a relatively large, artificially created underground cavity.

Chlor-alkali electrolysis

The basic chemicals chlorine, hydrogen and sodium hydroxide are obtained from sodium chloride by means of chlor-alkali electrolysis. Rock or vacuum salt is dissolved in water and conveyed as concentrated brine into the electrolysis cells. Chlorine, hydrogen and sodium hydroxide are required for the production of polyvinylchloride (PVC), that is, plastic materials.

Compacted Salt

Salt that has been compressed or compacted is called compacted salt.


Crystallization is the term used to describe the nucleation of dissolved salts and their growth into crystals during salt production. In the majority of cases, this occurs under pressure in closed evaporation systems. The salt thus obtained is called vacuum salt (also: evaporated salt) and is especially pure.

Crystallized Salt

In contrast to liquid brine, crystallized salt is salt that exists in solid form, such as food-grade salt and de-icing salt.




The splitting of a chemical compound by means of electric current is termed electrolysis.


Excavation or underground mining refer to the extraction of underground deposits in contrast to open-cast mining. The deposits are reached via shafts and stopes.


In mining, mining ores, usable minerals and rocks in open-cast mining or underground is termed extraction.


Fleur de Sel

This is French for “Flower of Salt” and is a special sea salt quality. Fleur de Sel occurs under special weather conditions on the water surface of the sea salt gardens. Its structure is particularly crunchy and it has a high residual moisture content.

Flor de Sal

This is the Spanish and Portuguese term for "Fleur de Sel".

Food-grade Salt

In general, food-grade salt is understood to be sodium chloride that is absorbed through food. Food-grade salt is one of the most important mineral substances in human nutrition.



In mining, a gallery is a horizontal mine without a surface opening.



Industrial Salt

Salt of the quality used in manufacturing and processing industries is termed industrial salt. Industrial salts are e.g. dyeing salts for the textile industry, hide curing salts for leather and fur processing, and salt for the treatment of animal bowels.

Iodized salt

Iodized salt is a table salt which is enriched with iodate – during the production process potassium iodate is added to the sodium chloride.


Lick Stone, Lick Block

A lick stone (lick block) or salt lick stone is a stone made of salt which is used for farm animals such as cows or horses, pets or small animals. In most cases, rock or vacuum salt – in its natural state or enriched with other minerals or trace elements as well as herbs and flavours – is pressed into a block form.


Mine Workings

The mines are the cavities created for the extraction of mineral raw materials, such as ore, coal and salt. The underground mines as a whole are termed the mine workings.  The mine workings together with the mechanical equipment can also be called the mine. The mine together with the above-ground apparatus and equipment finally make up the mining facilities.

Mining Chamber

Bedlike deposits are often mined by so-called pillar-and-chamber working. During salt mining, elongated underground mining chambers are created in the deposit. Pillars are erected between them, which support the rock above.




PDV = Pure Dried Vacuum salt; PDV stands for highly pure dried vacuum salt, which, thanks to its purity, is frequently used as food-grade salt, for industrial applications and for pharmaceutical purposes.

Pharma Salt

Salt in pharmacopoeia quality is an important basic substance for the pharmaceutical industry. For example, infusions and dialysis solutions are created from it. Moreover, salt is utilized in the production of medicines and dietary supplements as well as cosmetic and wellness products.

Pickling Salt

Pickling salt is one of the food-grade salts and is salt that has been specially enriched with nitrite for the pickling of meat and meat products. Together with curing, pickling is one of the oldest ways of preserving meat and meat products. It preserves the color and edibility of meat products, gives meat products their typical pickled aroma and is moreover used as an antioxidation agent.

Pit Foreman

The pit foreman was, in the past, a mining supervisor. He was responsible for a part of the mine and for the people working under him.


Regeneration Salt, Water Softening Salt

Water softening salt is special salt for water softening facilities and dishwashers. They are used to regenerate the ion-exchange material, i.e. to restore its ability to absorb for the hardness constituents in the water - primarily calcium and magnesium ions.

Rock Salt

Rock salt is a mineral compound with a very high sodium chloride content, which, however, varies depending on the deposit. Rock salt is extracted by miners underground. The rock salt deposits originated about 230 million years ago as the result of the evaporation of what were once oceans. Keyword: barrier theory



The word "salary" (= payment for work, remuneration) is derived from the Latin word "sal" (= salt).

In olden days, obtaining salt was a far more complicated and dangerous process than it is today. Salt was therefore significantly more expensive, even precious, and was worth its weight in gold. That's why salt was sometimes accepted as a means of payment. For example, Roman soldiers received parts of their pay in the form of salt, the so-called "salarium argentum" ("sal" = salt, "argentum" = silver / money, and thus effectively "salt money").

The current French word "salaire", in English "salary", bears witness to this. This etymology can also be found in the terms for remuneration / pay in other languages: "salario" in Spanish, "salário" in Portuguese etc.

Saline, Saltern, Salt Works

A saline, saltern or salt works is a facility or operation for obtaining salt, except for salt mines in which salt is extracted by miners.We distinguish primarily between:

vacuum salt works in which so-called vacuum salt (also called evaporated salt, saline salt or refined salt) is produced from saturated brine by means of evaporation; and

sea water salt works in which sea salt is obtained from sea water through evaporation.

Salt Dome, Salt Cap

A salt dome or salt cap is, in most cases, a steep formation. Tectonic forces from the earth's interior deformed the originally horizontal deposits and e.g. created a steep, roughly mushroom shape under high pressure.

Salt for Chemical Use, Electrolysis Salt

Salt for chemical use is salt of the quality from which primarily the chemical industry, by means of chloralkali electrolysis, obtains the basic chemicals chlorine, hydrogen and sodium hydroxide, which it requires for the production of plastics (e.g. PVC - polyvinyl chloride).

Salt Garden

A salt garden is a sea water saltworks in which sea salt is obtained from sea water through evaporation.

(Salt) Specialties

At esco we use the term salt specialties to refer to all salt products that are not de-icing salt or winter maintenance products. Salt specialties are thus all food-grade salts and table salts, industrial salts, salts for chemical use, pharma salts, etc., regardless of whether the product is made from rock salt, vacuum salt or sea salt.

Salt Tablets, 
Tablet Salt

Salt pressed into tablet from is mainly used as regenerating salt for water softening.

Sea Salt

Sea salt, sometimes also called solar salt, is obtained from so-called salt gardens through crystallization. During crystallization, the effects of the sun and wind play a major role. Sea salt also contains, in addition to sodium chloride, small quantities or traces of other substances, including potassium, magnesium and manganese salts.

Sodium Chloride, 

Sodium chloride / NaCl, in mineralogy also called halite, occurs naturally in large quantities, in part dissolved in sea water, in part in solid form and different concentrations in numerous mineral compounds, such as sylvinite and carnallite.

Solution Mining

During the solution mining process, fresh water is fed into a salt cap via bore holes. This dissolves the salt and the salt-saturated brine is then brought to the surface. Usually, the dissolved salt is evaporated in salt works to become vacuum salt, also called evaporated salt.


Stopes are the extraction blocks obtained between two horizons during planned extraction by boring and blasting.


Table Salt

In general, we use the term table salt to refer to all food-grade salt products produced in household packaging for the consumer and sold by the retail trade.
to top


In mining, a tunnel is a horizontal mine with a surface opening.



Wet Salt

In vacuum salt production, wet salt is crystallized salt with a certain residual moisture content, which results from the evaporation of brine. Most wet salt is submitted to a drying process.

White Gold

White gold is generally a synonym for a white substance, which owing to its preciousness, is referred to as gold, and therefore as something very valuable - without being gold or white gold at all.

Salt is traditionally called white gold.