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March 2018

At Campina de Cima, in Loulé, lies CUF's rock salt mine. A place where the planet’s geological history and chemical industry mix in the right doses.

Back in January 1964, a group of highly skilled miners, from the São Domingos mine, began work on the opening of the two access wells to the interior of the rock salt field, where the Campina de Cima mine is operated.


Below the city of Loulé, more than 230 meters deep, a group of miners exploits the rock salt, whose main use, up until 2005, was the chemical industry related to the production of chlorine and sodium. In 2006, Loulé’s rock salt began being sold to animal feed factories and for road safety uses, during the winter, as it melts ice and snow on the roads. Nowadays, rock salt is also used by municipalities in the phytosanitary control of roadways.


At the Campina de Cima mine, a group of technicians who master the art of mining use sophisticated means of exploitation, without employing explosives. They are able to dig up to 2.5 meters of gallery in each work shift – adding to the more than 40 kilometres of galleries already dug since the concession’s beginning.


The mine, with its large section galleries (10 meters wide and from 4.3 to 20 meters high), features capabilities beyond the exploitation of rock salt, as the structure brought about by the mining operation creates spaces that can be used by several activities. Among the many fields that may run parallel to mining, the most important are those linked to industrial tourism – centred on geological and mining themes – those related to the respiratory health of asthmatics, or even the setting-up of documental archives. These and many other activities can mean an extension of the more than three thousand years’ work that lie ahead in the mine’s foreseeable future, considering the average exploration and the volume extracted so far.