Once you get to work it takes almost another hour to get to work. Because after about five minutes taking the elevator to the nearly 100 year old Cayuga Salt Mine -- the deepest rock salt mine in the United States -- you have another 45 minute ride through seven and a half miles of tunnels before you arrive at the active mining site. Round trip, that's nearly two hours of daily commuting, plus however much time it takes you to get to the mine from home. Controlling the air flow over that distance is difficult, and the drop in voltage in seven and a half miles of electrical cables is significant, posing safety challenges for workers. If something unfortunate should happen, miners have to evacuate using the same route, and with all three mine lifts at the southern end of the mine, escape routes are limited.
That's why Cargill Deicing wants to build a new $42 million mine shaft close to the current active mining area that will provide a safer work environment, cut the commuting time, and an ample supply of electricity and air for another century. In 2012 Cargill officials met with neighbors to get questions answered about the 2,500 foot deep elevator shaft that would soon be their new neighbor. Last week over 30 neighbors and town officials came back for an update.
"Were waiting for the process to play itself out to give a status update when we knew what the permit status was," says Mine Manager Shawn Wilczynski. "But we felt, since it was taking so long, it was prudent to invite our neighbors back. We met primarily with neighbors we had (originally) reached out to and some other stakeholders including Town of Lansing representatives and some other folks. I'm very appreciative that we did. Cargill strives to be a responsible company and a good neighbor."