23 June 2007
This month we can reveal that the company behind the proposal
to build one of the world’s largest salt mines in Western
Australia's highly sensitive Exmouth Gulf area has been forced
into an embarrassing public back-down.
Straits Resources has been forced to clarify misleading comments
it had made with regard to its claims of scientific endorsement
for its proposed salt mine by two of Australia’s leading
The retraction resulted from queries by the Halt the Salt campaign
and is an indication that companies cannot be allowed to make
unsubstantiated and misleading claims to the public.
We continue to call on your support to provide submissions
– and help launch a postcard campaign – to oppose
the proposed salt mine project in the Exmouth Gulf.
Straits forced to back down on scientific
support for proposed salt mine
During the recently-completed public submission period into
Straits Resources’ salt mine proposal, the company issued
a media statement in which it claimed support from two Australian
Straits claimed the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial
Research Organisation (CSIRO) and the Australian Institute of
Marine Science (AIMS) had endorsed and undertaken research on
the environmental and economic sustainability of the salt mine
project, when neither organisation had ever supported research
or endorsed the project.
Both AIMS and CSIRO demanded Straits issue a statement retracting
its misleading comments about their alleged endorsement of the
project. An excerpt of the statement is below:
’Any implication from previous statements that the
CSIRO had peer reviewed and endorsed the research underpinning
the ERMP is incorrect.’
Similarly, it was mistakenly inferred in previous Straits
Salt press releases that the Australian Institute of Marine
Science had undertaken research specifically for the Yannarie
Solar proposal and that the Institute endorsed the project.
Alliance spokesman and Conservation Council of WA director
Chris Tallentire said it was appalling that Straits would mislead
the public about scientific support for its disastrous plan
to build a salt mine in one of the world’s most fragile
marine life systems.
He said Straits actions were socially irresponsible, particularly
because they occurred during the period when the public was
being asked to consider all available information from the company
in making comment to the relevant authorities.
"The organisations concerned were rightly outraged that
their names would be used in this misleading manner and the
campaign congratulates them for acting to set the record straight,"
Mr Tallentire said.
"Unfortunately the company was not so forthright, choosing
to bury the retraction/clarification at the bottom of another
misleading media statement posted on its website."
"Following discussions with the Environmental Protection
Authority, the Alliance is satisfied that the relevant authority
has also seen through Straits' 'spin'. "
"The company is obviously desperate and lacks the information,
scientific credibility and community support for its project."
One of the reasons the Halt the Salt campaign has been so successful
to date is the number and quality of the submissions that have
been presented to government in opposition to Straits’
proposed salt mine.
To date more than 2,900 submissions have been presented –
and with your continued support we envisage we will have presented
more than 4000 submissions to the EPA and Premier Alan Carpenter
by the end of the year.
It is 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
We have made this easy for you to comment by providing a pro-forma
submission to which
we encourage you to add your own comments.
Straits has work cut out responding
to weight of scientific argument
Please be aware that Straits Resources is still required to
undertake a significant amount of further work to complete the
EPA’s decision-making process on this proposal.
Straits must release further supplementary documentation on
the potential impacts of the proposed project that will be open
for public comment.
Straits must also respond to all submissions made to the EPA,
including detailed submissions from the Halt the Salt Alliance,
government agencies and many other scientific groups, communities
The Alliance is in regular contact with the EPA in order to
keep everyone informed of the timeframes that will be involved.
However, the complexity of the arguments that have been presented
against Straits proposal will mean at least another four to
six months before the company can fully and properly attempt
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 community newspaper
You can find out more about the extensive support for the campaign
by visiting the About
Us and Links
sections on the website.
your friends and associates asking them to participate.