Salt harvesting from Urmia Lake.
Urmia Lake, due to its unique characters, is designated as an international park and protected biosphere reserve by the United Nations . Also, there is a strong tendency by the Iranian Environmental Protection Organization to protect the lake's environment. At the same time, increased demands to exploit salt and other elements such as K, Li, Br, and some other elements, especially by private sectors, makes it necessary to understand the nature of the lake and its chemical composition at different depths and in different areas. At present, 450,000 tones of salt is exploited annually . Four hundred thousand tons are used for the production of NaCO3 in Maragheh city at the southwest corner of the Urmia Lake, and the remaining 50,000 tons is produced by small private sectors for export and for domestic uses in villages around the lake. This research, compared to the previous works, is the first systematic regional chemical study which has never been conducted in the lake, and is designed to study the seasonal changes in chemistry with the main emphasis on the potential production of K. Potassium is now produced from some playas such as Gawkhoni playa at central Iran.