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Investing in Salt

Salt has been traded, taxed and used as currency since ancient times.  Though health-conscious consumers may be reducing their salt intake it remains an essential in many areas.

Investing in salt as a commodity may not be straightforward, but there are publicly listed miners and producers.

The Asia-Pacific region is the world’s largest producer of salt, with Europe and North America also producing significant quantities.

Traditionally salt was produced from evaporation ponds, especially in hot, dry climates.  This has a low energy cost, as the evaporation occurs primarily through the action of the sun.  Underground deposits of rock salt are mined by companies such as Atlas Salt in North America, and some high quality salt is also produced by the energy-intensive vacuum evaporation of brine.

Aside from the varieties of domestic salt, such as table salt and Himalayan rock salt, salt is used for many industrial purposes.  These include the manufacture of clothes, glass, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, and for gritting roads.

As with many other commodities the salt price is primarily affected by supply and demand, but geopolitical factors and even the weather can have some effect also.

Unlike some commodities, salt futures are not widely traded.  Shares in dedicated salt miners such as Atlas Salt TSXV:SALT or producers such as Microsalt [LON:SALT] are more readily traded.

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