The mineral extraction industry on GSL makes close to $300 million dollars a year!
Very little documentation exists for the use of salt at GSL until the 1800s. Over the earlier years of the industry, the LDS church bought out other companies and monopolized the industry from 1898–1918. In 1918, Morton Salt Company moved into town and was so successful that they later purchased the salt business run by the LDS Church. The efforts to produce salt efficiently included many different techniques, but the most effective was to simply set up solar evaporation ponds. Salt production starts in March and the harvesting process is generally finished by Thanksgiving. Aside from salt seasonings, other mineral uses include salt cake, detergent fillers, making paper and ceramics, chemical processing, vinyl, plastics, synthetic fibers, bleach, oil drilling and salting winter roads.
Here at GSL, the U.S. Magnesium Corporation of Salt Lake City (USMC-SLC) produces ALL of the primary magnesium (Mg) metal in the U.S. and provide 14% of the world supply. Magnesium chloride is found naturally in the lake and chemical reactions split magnesium metal from the chlorine. Magnesium metal is commonly used in aluminum (for malleability), iron (for strength), steel (to decrease its brittleness) and titanium (for lightness and strength). The largest single consumption of magnesium is for the production of aluminum beverage cans. Other uses include metal for aircraft, automobile sheets, crankcases, computers, cell phones, hand tools, pyrotechnics, motor oil, and pharmaceuticals. The chlorine extracted from splitting the magnesium chloride is used to purify water, but it is also a point of contention for air and water quality regulations around the facility.
Potash, or sulphate of potassium (SOP), is one of the most commonly used commercial fertilizers in the world. The ease of producing SOP from GSL allowed the U.S. to maintain adequate supplies for commercial food production during WWII when our previous supply from Germany was cutoff. GSL is now the largest solar producer of SOP in the world! While salt harvesting produces the highest volume of minerals extracted from the lake, potash is far and away the most lucrative.
Cannon Structures reclaimed all of the wood from the old railroad trestle, reprocessed it and (still) sells it as flooring, construction supplies, etc. to companies and individuals. For more information, see Lake Properties section.