Wednesday, 23 July 2008
PRISTINE EXMOUTH GULF’S FUTURE MORE CERTAIN
FOLLOWING EPA DECISION ON SALT MINE
Western Australia’s pristine Exmouth Gulf and its inhabitants
are facing a more certain future thanks to a decision announced
today by the Environmental Protection Authority to reject unconditionally
a proposal for a large-scale salt mine to proceed in the environmentally-sensitive
Halt the Salt Alliance spokesperson Nic Dunlop said the Alliance
was delighted with the EPA’s decision and urged the State
Government to follow its advice to not allow the salt mine to proceed.
“There is overwhelming scientific evidence of the damage
the 70-kilometre salt mine would cause to our north-west coast’s
spectacular marine life,” he said.
The Exmouth Gulf, highly regarded for its environmental significance
having been identified for special protection through a number of
State and Federal Government mechanisms, would face an uncertain
future if the mine proceeds.”
There was huge opposition to the proposed salt mine, with more
than 3000 submissions sent to the EPA during and after the public
consultation period about the damage it would do to one of Australia’s
most productive marine ecosystems.
Under threat are the humpback whales (who migrate to the area each
year to nurse their young and rest), dugongs and sea turtles as
well as the many fish and birds who live and breed in the area.
“The salt mine could result in unwanted by-products, known
as toxic bittens, seeping into the local environment while an excavated
inland harbour and other infrastructure works would expose the area
to generating sulphides that could destroy mangrove and algal mat
habitat,” Dr Dunlop said.
“In addition, a massive retaining wall proposed along the
salt mine would divert water flow away from the area, starving marine
ecosystems of vital nutrients, particularly mangroves, which are
breeding grounds for local fish.
“There is a very high risk marine pests would be introduced
into the area, which could be attached to the international and
domestic marine vessels, including 300-metre bulk carriers, that
would have been constantly supplying the salt mine.”
Mr Dunlop said the salt mine would have a huge impact on the local
tourism, pearling and prawning industries, which all rely on the
Gulf remaining pristine and sustainable, causing a ripple effect
on related industries and communities.
The precious Exmouth Gulf would be damaged forever, all in the
name of producing salt for the plastics and petrochemicals industry
in Asia,” he said.
“We will be sending submissions to the State Government to
reject the salt mine proposal and encourage others to do the same
to help preserve this precious and environmentally important ecosystem.”
Further information is available from www.haltthesalt.org.au.
Melissa Bramley on 0417 924 412.