Web Masters please use this button to link back to this site




22 October 2005



The Halt the Salt campaign has been launched to combat a proposal for one of the world’s largest artificial salt mines

The Gallop Government is considering allowing one of the World’s largest salt mines to be established along the edge of Exmouth Gulf, one of the nation’s most biologically productive environments.

The Conservation Council of Western Australia has joined forces for the first time in a unique alliance with peak commercial and recreational fishing interests in the Exmouth Gulf region to stop the project.

Conservation Council director Chris Tallentire warned the project being proposed by Straits Resources was of a size previously unheard of in Western Australia and could have impacts on an ecosystem scale.

Mr Tallentire said he was dumbfounded that the State Government would even consider approving the project when it had earmarked the Exmouth Gulf, including the salt flats to the east, for proposal as a World Heritage area.

“This salt mine would cover an area more than 25,000 hectares - that’s over 50 kilometres long and five kilometers wide,” he said.

“Transposed to the Perth metropolitan area it would stretch from Fremantle to Yanchep and five kilometers inland.

“The company proposing it thinks it is largely out of sight and therefore out of peoples’ minds. But they are underestimating the value that the people of Western Australia place on their environment and reputation around the World.

“I cannot stress enough how concerned we are by this development - this is a massive scale project with huge environmental, economic and social impacts.

“If anything went wrong with a project of this massive scale the effects would be irreversible and felt for generations to come – the risks are too great.”

Mr Tallentire said the proposed location had long been recognised as having significant environmental importance, a fact the company itself has been forced to admit.

“Premier Gallop stopped the proposed development at Maud’s Landing on the basis of its potential environmental impact. This salt mine is potentially damaging to a far greater area, including Ningaloo Reef.”

The Conservation Council’s concerns have been backed by the MG Kailis Group, one of the largest commercial fishing operations and employers in the Exmouth region, and Recfishwest, the State’s peak body representing the interests of recreational fishers.

MG Kailis Group Compliance and Projects Manager Stephen Hood said the risks the salt mine would pose to the existing fishing, aquaculture, pearling and tourism industries of the region were too great.

“MG Kailis is very concerned that the project will have a negative impact on the eastern shore habitats of the Gulf and its catchment, severely reducing the recruitment of prawns into the fishery which, along with pearling operations, is currently worth more than $30million to the region annually,” Mr Hood said.

“Such an impact would not just concern the prawn fishery, it would also affect the total Gulf ecosystem, since the eastern side of the Gulf is generally regarded as a nursery area for a wide range of species.

“The ramifications for the hundreds of people who rely on the fishing and pearling industries for their employment and the livelihood of their families cannot be underestimated.”

Recfishwest Executive Director Frank Prokop said the Exmouth Gulf was a mecca for recreational fishers and tourists in general and risking its international reputation would be a massive error of judgement by the Gallop Government.

“The world-renowned eco-tourism industry is worth more than $100 million to the region annually and recreational fishers alone contribute about $10 million annually.

“This project would result in further loss of recreational fishing area and turn the entire region into an industrial zone – this cannot be allowed to happen and we won’t let it happen.”


Halt the Salt Campaign - Web Manager: Dave Graham, Web hosting: ozup.com Images copyright Wags and Kelly
Halt the Salt Privacy statement