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Tuesday 5 December 2006



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.

Media contacts

Chris Tallentire, Conservation Council of WA 0418 955 191

Stephen Hood, MG Kailis Group (08) 9239 9239

Frank Prokop, RecfishWest 0419 949 118



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