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Halt the salt campaign launched in Exmouth

By Kate Matthews
Tuesday, 25/10/2005



ABC Rural original article http://www.abc.net.au:80/rural/wa/content/2005/s1490473.htm

The mining industry and environmental groups are bumping heads again in the North West, this time over a proposed solar salt project off Exmouth. In fact, the fishing sector, both amateur and professional, have also joined forces with the green lobby to fight the project. "Halt the Salt" is a catch phrase you may be hearing a lot more of in coming weeks.

The catchy slogan is the name of a campaign that's been launched by the WA fishing industry to oppose a proposed solar salt project off Exmouth in the state's north west. Perth-based miner Straits Resources is proposing a 10 million tonne per year salt operation off the eastern shore of the Exmouth Gulf. The proposed project would cover an area of 25,000 hectares and those in the region's fishing industry say the size of the project is of big concern.

Rhett Brans is the project manager for Straits and says opposition to the development is based on fiction and the impact on the Gulf will be minimal. He says Straits has engaged some of Australia's leading environmental experts in the project and says when the environmental management plan is put forward the public will see an environmentally sound project. The 'Halt the Salt' campaign is the work of an unusual alliance.

The Conservation Council of WA has joined forces with fishing bodies the MG Kalis Group and RecFishWest to oppose what they say is a huge threat to the government and the social fabric of the region. Frank Prokop from RecFishWest says recreational fishers contribute $10 million to the region annually and if the salt project goes ahead both recreational and commercial fishing areas will be minimised. Straits will present its environmental protection authority for review next week.

After examination by the EPA the plan will become available for public comment.

In this report: Rhett Brans, Straits Resources; Frank Prokop, Rec Fish West.



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