Rock dietary table salt is produced at the unique natural Iletsk deposit.
M.V. Lomonosov was the first to investigate Iletsk salt. He wrote: “Iletsk natural salt is more hard-grained in comparison with the other type of salt and when ground acquires very white color and doesn’t absorb moisture. This type of salt should be preferred to the other types.” Iletsk salt is natural crystallized mineral. It is the result of early sea drying-up and, therefore, a green product. Back in ancient times there was an enormous sea on the territory of Orenburg region, which dried up in course of time. As a result now there is very valuable and useful product- salt of Iletsk. It is composed of green crystallized minerals older than 270 million years. Salt consists of balanced biologically active trace and major mineral elements. Iletsk salt is recognized as the best salt in the world and won the gold European prize at the exhibition in Paris in 1996.
Iletsk deposit is the salt canopy with an external salt core. In horizontal section the salt stock cross has ellipse-like shape. According to geological explorations the stock dimensions are: on the horizon 160m — along the long axis- 1850 m, along the short axis- 825, on the horizon 215m — along the long axis- 1920 m, along the short axis- 840m. To a depth of 600m main deposit dimensions increase up to 2150m×880m.
Until 1889 Ilest salt was produced by open-pit mining. Starting with 1889 up to 1926 Iletsk salt deposit was developed by underground mining in the “Old chamber” at a depth of 140m. 60 million poods (or 960 thousand tons) of salt were produced over that period. Since 1924 salt pit №1 had been extracted up to its flooding in 1979. 12 million tons of salt was produced over the period of its operation.
Since 1964 along with the salt pit №1 started extraction of the salt pit №2 at a depth of 280 meters. Production operations at a depth of 330 meters started in 2004. The extracted deposits are 20 million tons.
The construction of brand-new highly-mechanized mine started in post-war period. It was put into operation in 1964 and is currently operable.
At the present day the deposit is being developed at the salt pit №2. Its annual rate is 1 250 000 t/year and explored reserves are 568 406 000 tons of salt.