Khewra Salt Mine in Pakistan


Khewra Salt Mine

The Khewra Salt Mine (or dressing Salt Mine) is
in Khewra, north of Pind Dadan Khan,[1] associate body subdivision of Jhelum
District, geographical region Region, Pakistan. The mine is within the Salt
vary, Potohar highland, that rises from the Indo-Gangetic Plain,[2] and is that
the second largest within the world. [3][4][5][6]

The mine is known for its production of pink
Khewra salt, usually marketed as chain of mountains salt, and may be a major
tourer attraction, drawing up to 250,000 guests a year.[7] Its history dates
back to its discovery by Alexander’s troops in 320 before Christ, however it
started commerce within the Mughal era.[8] the most tunnel at ground level was
developed by H. Warth, a applied scientist, in 1872 throughout British rule.
once independence, the metabolic process took possession till 1956 and so PIDC
in hand the mines until 1965. once India-Pakistan war in 1965, the WPIDC took
over the administration of salt mines and in 1974, the Pakistan Mineral
Development Corporation took over the mine, that still remains the biggest
supply of salt within the country, manufacturing quite 350,000 tons per
annum[9] of regarding ninety nine pure sodium chloride.[7] Estimates of the
reserves of salt within the mine vary from eighty two million tons[10] to 600
million tons.


The Khewra Salt Mine is excavated among the
bottom of a thick layer of extremely rolled-up, faulted, and stretched
Ediacaran to early Cambrian evaporites of the Salt vary Formation. This
formation consists of a basal layer of crystalline common salt, that is
intercalated with hydrated oxide salts. This basal layer is overlain by
gypsiferous dirt, that is roofed by interlayered beds of mineral and dolomite
with infrequent  seams of shale. These
strata area unit overlain by two hundred to five hundred meters (660 to one,640
ft) of Neoproterozoic to epoch matter rocks that are elated and scoured at the
side of the Salt vary Formation to make the Salt vary at the southern fringe of
the Pothohar tableland. The Ediacaran to early Cambrian evaporites of the Salt
vary Formation are thrust southward over Neoproterozoic to epoch matter rocks
by several kilometers, that tectonically incorporated fragments of the
underlying younger strata among these evaporites. The Salt vary is that the
southern fringe of a well-described fold-and-thrust belt, that underlies the
complete Pothohar tableland and developed south of the Himalayas as a results
of in progress collision between Asian nation and continent.[12][13][14]

Palynomorphs (organic microfossils) are
accustomed create inferences regarding the ages of the Salt vary Formation and
its salt layers that area unit exposed among the Khewra Salt Mine. for
instance, whereas operating with earth science Survey of Asian nation within
the Nineteen Thirties and Forties, Birbal Sahni reported  finding proof of angiosperms, gymnosperms,
and insects within the mine that he thought to be originating from the epoch
amount.[15] but, on the premise of extra geological information, later analysis
has complete that these palynomorphs were contaminants


The Khewra Salt Mine is additionally referred to
as salad dressing Salt Mine, in honour of Lord salad dressing, World Health
Organization visited it as Viceroy of Asian country.[19] The salt reserves at
Khewra were discovered once Alexander the nice crossed the Jhelum and Mianwali
region throughout his Indian campaign. The mine was discovered, however, not by
Alexander, nor by his allies, however by his army’s horses, after they were
found licking the stones.[20] sickly horses of his army conjointly recovered
once licking the mineral stones.[21] throughout the Mughal era the salt was
listed in varied markets, as far-flung as Central Asia.[22] On the downfall of
the Mughal empire, the mine was confiscated by Sikhs. Hari Singh Nalwa, the
Sikh Commander-in-Chief, shared the management of the Salt vary with Gulab
Singh, the Raja of Jammu. the previous controlled the Warcha mine, whereas the
latter command Khewra. The salt quarried throughout Sikh rule was each eaten  and used as a supply of revenue.[citation

In 1872, your time once they’d confiscated the
Sikhs’ territory, land developed the mine any.[8] They found the mining to
possess been inefficient, with irregular and slender tunnels and entrances that
created the movement of labourers tough and dangerous. the availability of
water within the mine was poor, and there was no storage facility for the
deep-mined salt. the sole road to the mine was over tough, rocky tract. to deal
with these issues the govt levelled the road, engineered warehouses, provided a
water, improved the entrances and tunnels, and introduced a more robust
mechanism for excavation of salt. Penalties were introduced to regulate salt


. Regarding one hundred sixty kilometer (100
miles) from national capital and city, it’s accessed via the M-2 highway,
regarding thirty kilometres (20 miles) off the Lilla interchange whereas going
towards Pind Dadan Khan on the Lilla road.[24][25] The mine is in mountains
that square measure a part of a salt vary, a mineral-rich mountain system
extending regarding two hundred kilometer from the Jhelum watercourse south of
Pothohar highland to wherever the Jhelum watercourse joins the river.[6][8][26]
Khewra mine is regarding 288 meters (945 feet) on top of ocean level[27]  The underground mine covers a region of one
hundred ten km2 (43 sq. miles).


Estimates of the whole reserves of salt within
the mines vary from eighty two million tons[which?][10] to over 600 million
tons.[11] In raw type it contains negligible amounts of atomic number 20,
magnesium, potassium, sulfates, and moisture; it additionally contains iron,
zinc, copper, manganese, chromium, and lead as trace components.[28][29] Salt
from Khewra, additionally referred to as Khewra salt, is red, pink, off-white
or clear.[30] within the early years of British rule, the Khewra mine created
concerning twenty eight,000 to 30,000 tons per annum; it redoubled to
concerning 187,400 tons every year for the 5 business enterprise years ending
1946–47 and to 136,824 tons for the 2 years ending 1949–50 with the systematic
operating introduced by H. Warth.[31] The mine’s output was rumored in 2003 to
be 385,000 loads of salt every year, that amounts to virtually half Pakistan’s
total production of mineral.[32] At that rate of output, the tunnel would be
expected to last for an additional 350 years.[9]

The mine contains nineteen stories, of that
eleven ar below ground. From the doorway, the mine extends concerning 730
meters (2440 ft) into the mountains, and also the total length of its tunnels
is concerning forty metric linear unit (25 miles).[4][33] production is
completed victimization the area and pillar technique, mining solely half the
salt and going the remaining 0.5 to support what’s on top of.[34] The
temperature within the mine remains concerning 18–20 °C (64–68 °F) throughout
the year.[21] the two foot (610 mm) gauge Khewra Salt Mines Railway track set
throughout land era is employed to bring salt out of the mine in rail cars.[35]

Khewra salt is Pakistan’s best notable
mineral.[11] it’s used for cookery, as bathtub salt, as brine[30] and as a
material for several industries, together with a sal soda plant came upon by
AkzoNobel in 1940.[36] Salt from Khewra mine is additionally wont to build
ornamental things like lamps, vases, ashtrays and statues,[37] that ar exported
to the u.  s., Asian nation and plenty of
European countries.[35][38] the utilization of mineral to create inventive and
ornamental things started throughout the Mughal era, once several craftsman
created ware and decorations from it.[39] Warth introduced the utilization of a
shaper to chop out art items from the mineral, as he found it almost like
mineral in physical characteristics.[40]

In 2008 the govt. of West Pakistan determined to
dump seventeen profitable organisations together with Khewra salt mines,[41]
however the arrange was shelved. The mine is currently operated by the West
Pakistan Mineral Development Corporation, a department.


Khewra Salt Mine may be a major traveler
attraction, with around 250,000 guests a year,[7] earning it sizeable
revenue.[27] guests area unit taken into the mine on the Khewra Salt Mines
Railway.[21] There area unit various pools of salty water within. The Badshahi
house of worship was in-built the mining tunnels with multi-coloured salt
bricks[8][42] concerning fifty years agone.[25] alternative inventive carvings
within the mine embrace a reproduction of Minar-e-Pakistan, a sculpture of
Allama Iqbal, AN accumulation of crystals that type the name of Muhammad in
Urdu script, a model of the good Wall of China and another of the Mall Road of
Murree.[21][25] In 2003 2 phases of development of traveler facilities and
attractions were distributed, at a complete value of nine million rupees. A
clinical ward with twenty beds was established in 2007, cost accounting ten
million rupees,[43] for the treatment of bronchial asthma and alternative
metastasis diseases victimization salt medical care.[44] For this purpose the
railroad terminal of Khewra was refurbished with the assistance of a personal


Other traveler attractions within the mine
embrace the 75-meter-high (245-foot-high) Assembly Hall; Pul-Saraat, a salt
bridge with no pillars over a 25-meter-deep (80-foot-deep) brine pond; Sheesh
Mahal (Palace of Mirrors), wherever salt crystals area unit lightweight pink;
and a restaurant.

Other projects

The West Pakistan Mineral Development Corporation
established the Mine Survey Institute at Khewra in 1971.[7] The institute
conducts mine surveys, organises mining-related courses for the miners[47] and
has establishes the Khewra Model highschool and also the Khewra girls
school.[7][47] additional recently the miners won a vital environmental case
against the company for the supply of uncontaminated drink.[48] The water
offered to the residents of Khewra had been contaminated by salt, coal and
different near  mining activity. This
case is internationally recognised as vital with relation to the connection
between humanity and also the atmosphere.[49][50][51]

In 2003, whereas the govt. of West Pakistan was
trying to find ways that to extend the country’s strategic store of oil to
ninety days, the PMDC proposes a proposal to use the Khewra mines to store
strategic oil reserves.[27] Scientific reports confirmed the practicability of
this proposal, however it had been turned down.

Flooding in 2010

In 2010, throughout torrential rain everywhere
Islamic Republic of Pakistan, water from a close-by valley entered the
mine,[53] reaching a depth of 2 feet (60 cm) and obstruction the exits, once
that the mine was closed.[54] it absolutely was afterward reopened and remains

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