Sifto's Goderich Mine
Even though dazzling white salt from Goderich outclassed the more famous English salt by winning first prize at the 1867 Paris Exhibition, mass production of salt in Goderich did not begin until 1880. Workers placed rows of 100 cast iron kettles, carrying 120 to 140 gallons of pumped brine each, on wood-burning furnaces. This evaporation process produced a fine flake salt. However, as wood fuel was consumed the cost escalated. In an effort to streamline the process, mine managers replaced the shallow steel pans with kettles and introduced coal. Still the process proved too expensive and the salt too coarse. By 1910, managers modernized operations with the vacuum pan process, consisting of one vertical steel tank with internal heating tubes conducting steam. This cost-effective operation produced granular salt crystals widely used for table salt.
Surprisingly, mining in Goderich didn't occur until the late 1950s. Engineers finished construction of a mine shaft in 1959 so miners could descend almost 550 meters to crush rock salt for winter roads and water softeners. A second shaft became operational in 1968 and a third shaft was added in 1983.
Ontario Energy Board