New Port for Kimberley being pushed by the Chamber of Minerals and Energy

The Liberal/National push for the Industrial development of the Kimberley is now also being supported by the CME with its support for a new Industrial Port at Point Torment north of Derby.

Any development at this location would threaten the breeding cycles of the critically endangered Freshwater Sawfish, Speartooth Shark, Northern River Shark, Snubfin Dolphins and Barramundi, not to mention the globally significant mangroves lining the shores of the Sound, as well as the turtles nesting on the Point.

The Liberal/National government has made no secrets of its vision for Point Torment as a deepwater port and industrial hub, thereby facilitating the industrialization of the Kimberley.

However, as Premier Barnett has also said, the ‘challenging tidal conditions’ in King Sound make the big ships intended to use the proposed facility a major chemical and biological threat to the ecological systems both here and in the Fitzroy River, which flows into the Sound a little to the west.

Robin Chapple MLC, Greens WA Member for the Mining and Pastoral Region has this to say about the proposed development today:

“To develop this rich and unique area would, in my opinion, be a travesty. I will do everything in my power to promote the wonderful values of this Garden of Eden and to prevent its destruction.”

Point Torment has been firmly in the sights of developers since 2005 when the Regional Minerals Program of the Department of Minerals and Petroleum (DMP) released its ‘Developing the West Kimberley’s Resources’ report.

This document identified the infrastructure required to develop a bauxite mine at Mitchell Plateau and an alumina refinery and industrial port at Point Torment. Links were clearly established between using the natural gas resources of the Browse Basin to power the proposed alumina refinery and heavy industrial area to be based at Point Torment.

When Rey Resources announced its brown coal reserves in the Fitzroy River floodplain they added they could use Point Torment as a port terminal for its coal resources.

Regrettably,but not surprisingly, Torment spit, including Point Torment, was not included in the West Kimberley National Heritage listed area that was proclaimed by the Federal Minister for the Environment Hon Tony Burke MP in August 2011.

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