Solar salt from Australia
In 2016, K+S started the planning process for the construction of a production facility for solar salt in Western Australia, which could have an annual capacity of 4.7 million tonnes when completed. The project is currently in the public comment period of the approvals process.
Ashburton Salt: Salt from the sea
The project is located about 40km southwest of Onslow in the north of Western Australia. The coastal region is home to several existing solar salt production sites. Solar salt is extracted from seawater - a renewable source. The water is led through open evaporation ponds. After several months of solar exposure, salt precipitates in crystallising ponds.
We see the potential for long-term, economically successful salt production, which will be a benefit for the population of Western Australia. When completed, the production facility is expected to create about 130 direct and a total of 183 full-time jobs. In addition, it supports local businesses and service providers in the communities of Onslow and Exmouth.
Current project status
The public comment period of the environmental review process has commenced on June 12th. This is an important requirement in the process to gain approval from the Western Australian Environmental Protection Authority. The project's Environmental Review Document, which includes extensive studies reviewed by independent experts, resulting from a six-year investigation of the project area, surrounding marine areas, and the mangrove areas south of the project, can now be viewed online at https://www.epa.wa.gov.au/.
We have been working hard over the past years to identify and minimize potential environmental impacts, including a significant reduction in project area and operational plans.
The Environmental Protection Authority, EPA, will now collect direct inputs on the project for a period of 12 weeks. K+S Salt Australia will then respond to the submitted inputs and provide additional information if necessary. "If everything goes smoothly, the project could be approved in 2024," says Gödecke.
As soon as the approval has been obtained, a decision will be made on how to proceed with the project based on the strategic positioning of the salt business.
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