14 February 2007
The Halt the Salt campaign to stop the world's largest salt mine
from being built on the sensitive eastern edge of the Exmouth Gulf
continues to attract widespread support.
There have been two major developments in the campaign since our
Government authorities examining the proposal have now agreed
to extend the public comment period by a further two weeks until
The Alliance also organised a successful public forum at which
leading scientists expressed grave concerns at the proponents’
environmental management plans.
Scientific community calls for cautious approach and further
Leading experts in wetland systems, hydrology, prawn fisheries,
marine ornithology, humpback whale migration and dugong behaviour
addressed a public forum held in Perth on February 5.
Several presenters said the current research into the proposal
for a salt mine was inadequate and required further detailed review
of the scientific modelling and risk assumptions used.
Wetlands expert Dr Vic Semeniuk, environmental hydrogeologist Dr
Colin Walker, former Department of Fisheries research director Dr
Jim Penn and marine ornithologist Dr Nic Dunlop detailed significant
risks to the sensitive environment and the failure of the current
proposal to adequately address these risks.
They argued the proponents did not have a full understanding of
the Exmouth Gulf environment, had failed to address basic questions
and were unaware of the impact they could make.
Humpback whale migration expert Mr Curt Jenner and Department of
Environment and Conservation dugong researcher Dr Bob Prince outlined
the importance of the area to marine mammals and further research
required to properly understand how a salt mine operation could
impact on these populations.
Forum presentations support Alliance concerns
The Halt the Salt Alliance has repeated its call for the proposal
to be scrapped after scientific experts at the February public forum
backed its concerns.
Alliance spokesman Chris Tallentire said the views expressed publicly
by internationally-recognised experts were a clear demonstration
that the Alliance is not alone in its concerns and Straits is risking
damage to an environment that it knows little about.
“Speakers at the forum were asked to provide their own independent
opinions based solely on their expert backgrounds and credentials
in critical areas of this proposal – their criticism and words
of warning were a huge wake-up call for the proponent and the government,”
Mr Tallentire said.
Public pressure causes comment deadline to be extended
The Western Australian Environmental Protection Authority and
Straits Resources have bowed to public pressure and extended the
period of community consultation for a further two weeks until March
This decision was a clear acknowledgement that the community does
have major, legitimate concerns and they must be properly and fully
expressed its concerns to the Environmental Protection Authority
(EPA) over the badly inadequate consultation period for comment
on Straits' proposal.
What you can do to support the campaign
Growing numbers of people from Australia and overseas, determined
to help protect this unique environment, are making their views
known to the Western Australian Government via the pro-forma
Personalised letters, faxes or phone calls to politicians are
also very important and the Alliance website has a full list of
Another good way of putting your views across is to write a Letter
to the Editor and again the Alliance has details of how to make
contact with the State’s
major newspapers or you can spread the word via your own local
If you haven’t seen a campaign information brochure you
can download a copy from this
site or contact one of the Alliance affiliated bodies.
You can find out more about the extensive support for the campaign
by visiting the About
Us and Links
sections on the website.
Email your friends and associates asking them to participate.