Salt pan near Onslow, Western Australia.

Ashburton Salt: A solar salt project in Australia

K+S is exploring the possibility of developing a 4.5 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

Saltier water near Ashburton Salt project changes expected project output

Recent water and coral sampling conducted by Curtin University has found the sea water off the Ashburton Salt site, near Onslow, has a far higher concentration of salt than expected. We now anticipate the project will produce 4.5mtpa of salt on the same footprint as originally planned.  No other impacts will change. See Fact Sheet 13: Salt Concentration of Local Water for more details.

New research partnership to study water quality impact on marine habitats near Exmouth Gulf

The impact of cyclones and other weather events on water quality and the marine ecosystem is the subject of ground-breaking research to be conducted under a $350,000 partnership between The University of Western Australia (UWA) and K+S Salt Australia, the subsidiary of German resources company K+S.

The project will see researchers, led by PhD student Paula Cartwright of UWA’s Oceans Graduate School, measure water quality and map marine habitats across the Exmouth Gulf and the Urala Creek coastline over an 18-month period. more

UWA researcher Paula Cartwright, pictured with K+S Salt Australia’s Gerrit Gödecke, will be studying the impact of water quality on marine habitats in and around the Exmouth Gulf.

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

Press releases

Contact

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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Lutz Grüten

Head of Investor Relations

Phone: +49 561 9301 1460
lutz.grueten@k-plus-s.com

Lutz Grüten
Head of Investor Relations

Bertha-von-Suttner Str. 7
34131 Kassel
Germany

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

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