Masjid built with salt bricks inside Salt Mines, Khewra. Photo taken during a recent recreational visit of ADB staff to Salt Mines.
Khewra Salt Mines is a salt mine in Pakistan, about 160 kilometers from Islamabad and 260 kilometers from Lahore. It attracts up to 40,000 visitors per year and is the second biggest salt mine in the world. Situated at the foothills of the Salt Range, Khewra Salt Mines are the oldest in the salt mining history of the sub-continent.
Salt has been mined at Khewra since 320 BC, in an underground area of about 110 sq. km. Khewra salt mine has proven reserves of 300 million tons. This reserve could not be consumed in 600 years even at the rate of 5 lakh tons production every day. Current production from the mine is around 3 lakh tons.
The mine-head buildings have 17 storeys, with 11 below ground. The salt-mine is 945 feet above sea level and extends around 2,400 feet inside the earth from the mine-mouth. There are 17 working levels and the cumulative length of all tunnels is more than 40 km.
Salt occurs in the form of an irregular dome like structure. There are seven thick salt seams with a cumulative thickness of about 150 meters. At places the rock salt is 99% pure. Salt is transparent, white, pink, reddish to beef-color red. There are beautiful alternate bands of red and white color salt.