Mining the Salt of Our Earth in Michigan

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“Business is the salt of life. *

Indeed, salt is a major part of Michigan life. Below Detroit is a very tall tunnel, nearly 1,200 feet. Some 30 miners travel this tunnel to get salt from one of the most rich salt sources. This reserve is located on the Detroit River near Lake Erie. Featured in TIME magazine, Michigan miners like Bill Brownlee, pictured in front of heavy equipment and a veritable salt mountain, deliver salt to the Midwest and East Coast:

Michigan salt extraction has been going on since the 1800s. The Detroit Salt Company was formed in 1906. The miners spend 10 hours a day laboring, using a machine a called a “continuous miner to scrape the mineral off the walls into storage containers:

To help ensure miner safety, a tag-board system is on display:

In addition to family and friends, Barbara, the patron saint of both the military and miners, keeps watch. The miners made a shrine to her:

When winter hits, the salt on the road comes from people working hard to deliver a hard-earned resource.

*Misattributed to Voltaire

Photography by Lisa Kereszi for TIME

Nate Burgos

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