Salt pan near Onslow, Western Australia.

Ashburton Salt: A solar salt project in Australia

K+S is exploring the possibility of developing a 3.5 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) solar salt project near Onslow, Western Australia.

  • To produce solar salt, ocean water flows into large open evaporation ponds, in which the salt crystallizes after being exposed to sunlight for several months.
  • K+S believes the Ashburton Salt project will be a sustainable commercial operation with benefits for the economy and the people of the Onslow and Exmouth regions and Western Australia while minimising environmental impacts on the surrounding area.
  • Preliminary estimates on the cost of developing the project foresee a capital expenditure of AU$ 350 million (€ 225 million) for the full development. The facility is expected to sustainably provide 75 full time equivalent jobs in the Onslow area and support local business and contractors.
  • K+S will draw from its experience in solar salt field operations gained in the Bahamas, Brazil and the United States.
 

Project scope

The project is located approximately 40 kilometres south-west of Onslow in Western Australia. This coastal region is a proven location for sea salt production with several sites located in the region including the nearby Onslow Salt site.

K+S has a strong commitment to best practice environmental management for the project and is drawing on expertise within Australia and globally to ensure the project is environmentally sustainable.

The K+S approach to environmental management for this project includes:

  • Locating the project 40 km south-west of Onslow, to minimise its interface with the Exmouth Gulf;
  • Ensuring an adequate buffer to mangrove communities (recognising these are important components of the ecosystem);
  • Minimising impacts on algal mat communities (recognising these are important primary producers in the local food chain);
  • Not including long-term bitterns (salty water produced from seawater evaporation) storage in the project design, instead investigating other recognised best practice methods of bitterns management in use within the salt industry; and
  • Minimising, if not eliminating, dredging of the ocean floor.

The above initiatives along with a comprehensive project Environmental Impact Assessment and Management Plan, will ensure minimal environmental impact on the area surrounding Ashburton Salt.

Current project status / Project news

A draft Environmental Scoping Document has been prepared and we are seeking public comment. More information can be found here.

The Western Australian Environmental Protection Authority will assess the Ashburton Salt Project by Environmental Review with a 12 week public comment period.   

The Australian Department of the Environment and Energy (DoTEE) will manage the Project as a controlled action, via an accredited assessment.

This means the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) will manage the assessment process, in consultation with the DoTEE. 

The public will have a chance to review the Ashburton Salt proposal in detail and make comment directly to the EPA as part of the approvals process.

The next step involves preparing a scoping document to detail the different environmental studies to be undertaken. This will be made public by the EPA.

The EPA’s process and decision on the level of assessment can be found at: http://www.epa.wa.gov.au/proposals/ashburton-salt-project and  http://bit.ly/2k9ySl5

The DoTEE decision on the assessment can be found here: http://bit.ly/2kyttTa

If you would like to register to receive news as the project progresses, please leave your details here.

Harvesting solar salt at Morton Salt’s Grantsville site in Utah (US)

Press releases

Contact

Thorsten Boeckers

Head of Investor Relations

Phone: +49 561 9301 1460
thorsten.boeckers@k-plus-s.com

Thorsten Boeckers
Head of Investor Relations

Bertha-von-Suttner Str. 7
34131 Kassel
Germany

Phone: +49 561 9301 1460
Fax: +49 561 9301 2425
thorsten.boeckers@k-plus-s.com

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Michael Wudonig

Spokesman

Phone: +49 561 9301 1262
michael.wudonig@k-plus-s.com

Michael Wudonig
Spokesman

Bertha-von-Suttner Str. 7
34131 Kassel
Germany

Phone: +49 561 9301 1262
Fax: +49 561 9301 1666
michael.wudonig@k-plus-s.com

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