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MEDIA release

Tuesday, 27 February 2007

Exmouth industries worth $165 million annually
threatened by proposed salt mine

SUSTAINABLE industries worth more than $165 million annually to the State’s economy are threatened by a proposal to build the world’s largest salt mine along environmentally sensitive Exmouth Gulf.

Existing eco-tourism, commercial and recreational fishing and aquaculture industries relying on the pristine nature of the environment currently create 300 jobs in the Exmouth region.

But Straits Resources’ proposal to build one of the World's largest salt mines over 411 square kilometres along the eastern edge of the Gulf could cause major environmental damage to the area’s fragile ecosystem.

Halt the Salt Alliance spokesman Chris Tallentire said the proposed low-value product “salt” could only be made economically viable by the massive scale of the project, which could destroy the environment and local jobs and industries, changing the face of the Gulf forever and damaging WA’s reputation as a world-class tourism destination.

MG Kailis Group Compliance and Projects Manager, Stephen Hood said Straits’ proposed salt mine would potentially secure an average ten year salt price of $23/tonne, which was a poor return compared to other local products such as pearls and prawns which rely on the existing pristine environment for their ongoing viability.

“Local business operators who rely on eco-tourism, fishing and pearling industries for their employment are greatly concerned about the risks of this proposed project and the damage it could do to business and the community in Exmouth,” Mr Hood said.

Mr Tallentire said the millions of dollars spent each year by Australian and international visitors to WA’s unique coral coast would also be under threat by the proposed salt mine.

“This proposal poses a massive risk to the expanding eco-tourism industry as well as the existing sustainable industries of the region. The effects would be irreversible and ecosystem changing and aren’t worth the risks,” he said.

“Fishing and aquaculture are highly dependent on the maintenance of high water quality and of the natural ecological processes driving marine productivity. All these activities will be threatened by the proposed project.

"The fundamental question is whether it is worth the risk to these existing industries in order to possibly gain a net economic benefit of $65 million, but only in 25 years time when Straits' proposal may reach full production.”

Current value of Exmouth’s existing industries


Value (per annum)



Pearl farms


Prawn and seafood


Recreational fishing


Media contacts
Chris Tallentire, Conservation Council of WA 0418 955 191
Stephen Hood, MG Kailis Group 0418 901 048



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