Welcome back to the campaign for 2008!
It's been a long haul since we started two years
ago, but the Halt the Salt Alliance remains determined in our
opposition to Straits Resources’ salt mine proposed in
the environmentally-sensitive Exmouth Gulf area.
The public response to our campaign has been overwhelming. More
than 3,000 people have already formally objected to the proposal
and we expect many more will join as more information on the
massive risks to the environment is revealed.
New video evidence supports our case
The Alliance has prepared new video evidence supporting our
position that Straits’ proposal could starve much of the
Gulf ecosystem of its vital natural resources.
The aerial footage was taken over the proposed salt mine site
during a three-day rainfall event caused by tropical cyclone
Pancho that took place in the area three weeks ago.
It clearly demonstrates how the extensive Yannarie delta system
floods out transporting sediment and vital nutrients into the
marine environment along the entire length of the Gulf’s
The nutrient flush from these rainfall events is captured within
the mangrove, seaweed and seagrass habitats, allowing them to
function like a battery, fixing and gradually resupplying nutrients
and energy for the marine environment.
The complex system of rock retaining walls proposed as part
of Straits’ project would act as a barrier to this important
process, radically altering the natural ‘flood-out’
pattern and artificially redirecting the flow of sediment and
The video footage and still photographs are being provided to
the Environmental Protection Authority, the government agency
formally assessing Straits’ proposal.
Straits Resources has previously sought to
refute the importance of these rainfall events and has claimed
they are a rare occurrence. But the new footage again demonstrates
the importance of these recharge events to the Exmouth Gulf
This is the first time since the Halt the Salt Campaign commenced
two and a half years ago that we have had a significant rainfall
event over Yannarie Creek catchment despite six cyclones having
been in the vicinity since that time.
But this just underlines the sporadic but critical nature
of these events. Of the six, all were closer to Exmouth gulf
than TC Pancho which was 700 km to the west of Ningaloo. But
TC Pancho was the one! 380mm of rain in one day at North West
Rainfall events since the Cylone Bobby event have been:
Cyclone details since 1995.
TC Bobby Feb 1995
TC Frank Dec 1995
TC Vance Mar 1999
TC Steve Mar 2000
TC Pancho March 2008 (trough triggered by cyclone 700km off
the coast) (268mm over 4 days at Learmonth Airport 20 km south
Also, in June 2002 a low pressure system caused 89mm of rain
to fall in Exmouth in 4 hours. As a consequence, flood waters
from the town of Exmouth broke through as a fast flowing torrent
into the marina, causing 2 prawning trawlers to turn turtle
in their cyclone proof pens.
All these cyclones had rainfall in excess of 200mm associated
Further submissions presented
The Alliance has presented further technical submissions to
the Environmental Protection Authority in response to additional
documentation that was released by Straits Resources for a very
limited four-week public comment period.
The documentation - Additional Flora and Vegetation Assessment,
Subterranean Fauna Assessment and Hope Point Habitat Mapping
- should have been part of the initial release of Straits’
Environmental Review Management Plan over a year ago.
The proponent must now respond to all new information raised
and detail these responses to the EPA which will continue its
Claims of modified proposal are a furphy
The intense public opposition to the project has forced Straits
into providing a public response to some of your concerns.
On its website, the company describes this response as a "modified
proposal", but in fact it is simply a re-statement of the
first stage of its project.
From the outset, in its Environmental Review Management Plan
(ERMP), Straits stated that it was "planning to develop
a 10 million tonne per annum (Mtpa)" operation "with
start-up capacity of 2.5 to 3 Mtpa".
The ERMP remains the base documentation that the EPA is evaluating.
Straits' intention to ramp up the project to 10Mtpa was also
re-stated by the company at a stakeholder reference group meeting
held in June 2007.
But now Straits' spin doctors, concerned by the growing public
opposition, are trying to suggest they have "modified"
the proposal and are only seeking to develop a 4Mtpa operation.
This is merely a desperate attempt to get around a political
problem by trying to gain approval in stages. It will not work.
In fact their "modified" proposal actually comprises
an expanded barge harbour and increased dredging.
The Alliance's position remains clear - the risks to the environment
are too great.
It doesn't matter how much spin Straits uses or how much it
tries to breakdown its project/application - its "modified"
proposal still poses the same unacceptable risks to marine life,
the environment, eco-tourism and sustainable fishing industries
in the region.
Your support and involvement in our opposition to this proposal
continues to be crucial.
Please take the time to view our website at www.haltthesalt.org.au
to find out more about the risks associated with the project
and how to express your opposition.
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.
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
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.