Portion of book La Argentina y el Trabajo by Franciso Scardin 1906
THE ARGENTINE AND WORK
Chapter XI Page 566
Foodstuffs: L. Parmeggiani y C° – Amadeo Gruget – «Unión Argentina Limitada» – Weber y Striker.
In 1898, during one of those eventful voyages which may only be made through the southern seas by the National Naval Transport vessels, the Villarino, having been set-upon by a storm, had to seek refuge in the Port of Cabo Blanco whose very existence was certainly not known until very recently.
It happened that the vessel's officers had organised an excursion inland, and some 5½ kilometres from the port, a salt lake was found, which shortly the firm of L. Parmeggiani & Co was set-up to work.
The total area of the salinas at the Port of Cabo Blanco – a port, which may be said in passing, is one of the best and most picturesque along the coast of Patagonia – is some 2500 hectares [6178 acres] in extent and is formed of a layer of the whitest salt on top of another layer of harder salt, which is below a surface of mud some 50cm [20 inches] thick, and forms a great mine of pure crystalline rock salt. The season for working it is about five months, that is to say from November to May. The salt is extracted with picks, hoes and shovels, piling it up in the salina to be later carted away from the edge of the salina and put into heaps. Transport to the port is by means of a steam Decauville railway some 7½ kilometres long, owned by the same undertaking. The salt is taken by arrangement with the steamers of the Hamburg South America line, the transports of the National Navy and sailing vessels. The following is a very telling fact; 1,000 tons of salt was extracted in 1902 as a trial, while the amount extracted in 1904 amounted to 30,000 tons.
This industry may be considered to be completely new in the Argentine Republic, since a few years ago it was not known, and salt was imported from Spain to be sold at almost twice the price it is now. This sensible reduction, which is due solely to the working of the national salinas whose product has proved to be as good as, or better than, the imported one. Thus the industry deserves to be supported, as much by the Government as by individuals.
The L. Parmeggiani & Co enterprise in the immediate vicinity of the salina also own some leagues of land which they are proposing to use for livestock rearing.
Salt carrying railways