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Halt the Salt

Newsletter #3
3 March 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 has been a high level of backing for the Alliance from members of the public, during the Environmental Protection Authority’s public comment period which closes on March 12.

To date 1220 submissions have already been made to the EPA, which demonstrates the community is significantly concerned about the impact of Straits Resources’ proposed project on the delicate environment within the Exmouth Gulf.

Straits recently announced to the Australian Stock Exchange that its proposed salt mine would have a minimal impact on the environment – a statement the Alliance views as seriously misleading.

The Alliance also recently released a media statement with regard to the devastating impact the project would have on existing, valued industries in the Exmouth region.

Sustainable industries worth $165 annually threatened by proposed salt mine.

The Halt the Salt Alliance has expressed concern that Straits proposed salt mine could threaten Exmouth’s $165m a year income generation from its existing eco-tourism, aquaculture, commercial and recreational fishing industries.

The Alliance said the pristine nature of the marine environment at the Exmouth Gulf – which currently creates 300 jobs – could be at ‘risk’ if the project received approval.

The proposed salt mine would potentially secure an average ten-year salt price of $23/tonne, which is seen to be a poor return compared to local products such as pearls and prawns which relied on the existing environment for their ongoing viability.

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.

Fishing and aquaculture are highly dependent on the maintenance of high water quality and of the natural ecological processes driving marine productivity and these activities would also be placed at risk by the proposed project.

The Alliance also questioned if it was worth the risk to existing industries to possibly gain a net economic benefit of $65 million in 25 years time when Straits' proposal may reach full production.

Public comment deadline fast approaching

Public submissions on Straits Resources ‘Environmental Review and Management Program’ (ERMP) for the proposed salt mine will close on Monday March 12.

The Western Australian Environmental Protection Authority and Straits Resources recently bowed to public pressure to extend the community consultation period for an extra two weeks.

The scientific community has previously showed its concern with regard to the various proposals contained in the ERMP.

Many individuals, research bodies, educational institutions and commercial ventures have close associations with the region and have worked in and studied this unique marine environment for many years.

It is equally important that scientific arguments are supported by the concerns of members of other community groups and the general public who live or visit the region, have an affinity with it or simply care about the environment we will be leaving future generations.

So if you are keen to comment on the project, please ensure you submit a submission to the EPA before Monday March 12.

We have made this easy for you by providing a pro-forma submission to which we encourage you to add your own comments.

Campaign brochure still available

The Halt the Salt Alliance information brochure is still available for interested members of the public and continues to be widely distributed throughout the State.

The four-page brochure features a striking image on the front of floodwaters from Cyclone Bobby in 1995 which clearly illustrates that the eastern side of the Gulf is one delta system that relies on these heavy rainfall events for vital nutrient flow.

The failure to understand and acknowledge the linkage between its project footprint and the natural nutrient system recharging the Gulf is one of the fatal flaws in Straits' plans.

The brochure explains how the productivity of the Gulf is achieved, what the impact of the massive project would be on the marine environment and how you can become involved in the campaign.

The brochure can be viewed or downloaded or you will be able to pick up a copy at many locations around the State or through any of the Alliance's affiliated bodies

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 submission.

Personalised letters, faxes or phone calls to politicians are also very important and the Alliance website has a full list of contact details.

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 community newspaper

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.

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WEBSITE www.conservationwa.asn.au E-MAIL: [email protected] 
ABN 35 982 476 107




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