Tuesday 5 December 2006
PUBLIC URGED TO OPPOSE PLANS TO MINE
SENSITIVE EXMOUTH GULF AREA
Western Australians have been urged to oppose plans to build one
of the world’s largest artificial salt mines in an environmentally
sensitive area of the State’s North-West.
Public comment is being formally sought from today on a mining
company’s plan to build one of the World’s largest salt
mines along the Exmouth Gulf.
The huge salt project would cover more than 410 square kilometres
behind the environmentally sensitive mangrove fringe and adjacent
salt flats and marshes of the entire eastern Exmouth Gulf.
The area is one of the nation’s most biologically productive
environments and the company, Straits Resources Pty Ltd, was instructed
by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) to develop an Environmental
Review Management Plan (ERMP).
The document was released today for a limited 10-week public comment
period after which the EPA will make its final recommendations to
the State Government.
The Conservation Council of Western Australia has joined forces
for the first time in a unique alliance with peak commercial and
recreational fishing groups to oppose the project.
Conservation Council director Chris Tallentire said the Exmouth
Gulf was of critical ecological importance and foreshadowed to be
part of a future World Heritage Listing.
“The impacts of the proposal, which is of a size previously
unheard of in Western Australia, would be on a ecosystem scale and
could be environmentally catastrophic,” Mr Tallentire said.
The Halt the Salt Alliance (haltthesalt.org.au) will be making
a detailed submission to the EPA along with many other community
and industry based organisations that share its concerns about the
potential impact of the mine on the environment.
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.
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.
Media note: The Halt the Salt Alliance will make a direct response
to the Straits’ ERMP as soon as it has had the opportunity
to examine the document in detail.
Chris Tallentire, Conservation Council of WA 0418 955 191
Stephen Hood, MG Kailis Group (08) 9239 9239
Frank Prokop, RecfishWest 0419 949 118