Untapped Salt Deposit in Newfoundland

and Labrador

A salt deposit in Newfoundland and Labrador, which is called the "Great Atlantic Salt Deposit" by its current owners Atlas Salt, could be one of the biggest in the world. According to the company it is "strategically positioned in the heart of the robust Eastern North America road salt market that relies heavily on overseas imports to meet annual demand." The deposit is located in the Bay St. George Basin on the west coast of Newfoundland next to important infrastructure, including a deep water port, Turf Point.

Atlas Salt claims to investors that Great Atlantic and the Goderich mine in Ontario share similar geological characteristics, though the Great Atlantic deposit starts at a depth more than 300 metres shallower than Goderich and has a salt bed that is thicker than Goderich "by orders of magnitude." The company claims it is unusually shallow by industry standards and that geotechnical data continues to support the objective of accessing the salt through an inclined ramp "as a unique and highly efficient mining method among North American salt deposits."

Atlas is also the largest shareholder in Triple Point Resources Ltd., which is applying to be listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange. Triple Point owns Newfoundland's only known salt dome (Fischell's) located 15 km south of Great Atlantic. Fischell's is being touted for its potential for underground energy storage for hydrogen gas in multiple salt caverns, which the company says makes it a key asset in the heart of Newfoundland's emerging "Clean Energy Hub."

A 2021 piece in the investment blog Bull Market Run titled "The Emerging North American Salt War" predicts that the Atlas Salt mine will become a target for two cartels which control salt production in Canada: Compass Minerals and Stone Canyon Industries Holdings Inc. Compass owns the Sifto salt mine in Goderich, Ontario, the biggest rock salt mine in the world. Atlas President Rowland Howe is the former mine manager of the Sifto mine. Stone Canyon Industries Holdings Inc. owns Windsor Salt and its operations in Windsor, Ontario, Pugwash, Nova Scotia and on the Magdalen Islands in Quebec.

If such a large salt deposit can be mined with the most modern techniques and shipped easily it can be a huge asset for Canada and the world. However, under the control of narrow private interests it will be used to attack and even shut down regional salt production in other parts of Canada by attacking the salt workers in these operations with claims that they are no longer needed. This is already being speculated -- that if Stone Canyon takes control of the Great Atlantic Salt Deposit, it can then shut down older operations, such as the one in Pugwash, Nova Scotia, as it did with its evaporation plan in Lindbergh, Alberta.

Canada's natural resources like salt should be developed in an environmentally responsible manner that serves the needs of Canada and its northern climate. Left in the hands of holding companies that operate as cartels Canada's natural resources are squandered and used to extort governments and workers. A new direction for the economy is required in which Canada's vast natural resources are under the control of the working people and governments they form which can put them at the disposal of nation-building, not nation-wrecking.

This article was published in
Number 39 - July 24, 2023

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