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Independent Since 1913

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275 million years ago Earth’s shifting continent left an ancient inland ocean known as the Permian Sea. As the seawater evaporated over millions of years it left large concentrations of salt deep underground in what is now Kansas.

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Drilling for oil and gas leads to the discovery of thick salt beds in central Kansas

Prospectors drilling for oil and gas in 1887 report encountering beds of salt several hundred feet thick at relatively shallow depths of 500-1000 feet.

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Independent Salt Company is born

A mine shaft is sunk 840’ deep to reach a 10’ thick layer of very pure rock salt. Wooden mine carts are filled by hand and pulled by mules along rails to the shaft where they are hoisted to the surface to be sorted and loaded into trucks and rail cars.

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Escape shaft completed

A second mine shaft is sunk NE of the original shaft which provides fresh air and a secondary means of escape from the underground mine.

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Electric Locomotives arrive underground

Mules are brought to surface and put out to pasture as DC powered electric locomotives replace them to pull the mine carts underground. Wooden mine carts are replaced with larger steel carts to increase production.

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Conveyor system and steam hoist upgrade

Conveyor belt systems replace the electric locomotives and underground rail system as the mine expands eastward over a mile. Electric loading machines and shuttle cars haul salt from the working face to the primary crusher where it is crushed and transferred to the conveyor system. The mine hoist is upgraded from a steam powered hoist to a modern electric hoist to increase production and reliability.

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Don Keener Begins Employment

Don Keener begins employment as a shipping clerk. He buys the mine in 1989 and begins a 30-year period of dedicated family ownership continuing today.

Photo of Diesel equipment underground

Diesel Powered Equipment Arrives Underground

Diesel powered wheel loaders (LHDs) replace electric shuttle cars and loading machines. Mine production increases significantly as the loaders can now do the job of multiple machines in a single unit.


Independent Salt continues to be family owned and operated and is a major supplier of high-quality rock salt in the region.

Collage of Images of Salt, Mining Process, and Team Collage of Images of Salt, Mining Process, and Team
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Join Our Team

We’re always looking for great people. If you want to join a hard working team doing valuable work, we’d love to hear from you.

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Quality and Safety First

At Independent Salt, we put people first. We’ve built our company on service, trust and hard work, and are guided by two principles every day:

  • Deliver the finest quality rock salt to our customers
  • Guard the safety of our teams at every step — from mining to processing and delivery
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