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
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
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
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)
Prawn and seafood
Chris Tallentire, Conservation Council of WA 0418 955 191
Stephen Hood, MG Kailis Group 0418 901 048