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Photographer's Note

On the Sal island ("sal" is salt), the flattest island of The Cape Verde Islands, there is a salt lake situated inside the mouth of a long extinct volcano.

For many centuries salt has been extracted here. Earlier in this century there were 40 hectares of salt pans on this site.

In the 18th century a salt business was developed. The most challenging technical issue confronting the establishment of the salt business at Pedra de Lume was to design a way of transporting the salt from the salinas high above the village to the embarkation point at the port. Initially pack animals were used to do the work. Later a tunnel was cut through the wall of the extinct volcano thereby easing access to the salina.

In 1919 a businessman from Santa Maria and a French company based in Bordeaux purchased the salt company. They installed a tramway system which revolutionized their ability to transport the salt to the port. The tramway was 1100 meters in length and was able to transport 25 tons of salt per hour. The new company found a market for its exports to several West and Central African countries.

By 1985 the salinas of Pedra Lume ceased all exportation. Today the company's minute production does not even satisfy local demand.

In 1990 there were about 700 full time residents in Pedra de Lume. Unfortunately, the economy of the town only offered 22 year-round jobs to local residents. The rest of the town's workers have had to migrate to other parts of Sal or have been compelled to move to other islands or abroad.

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Additional Photos by Sylvie Fondacci Monteiro (SylFondacci) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 525 W: 28 N: 466] (4087)
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