Butler protests outside BHP HQ

Musician John Butler has performed outside BHP Billiton’s Melbourne headquarters to protest against the company’s involvement in the proposed Price Point hub in Western Australia’s Kimberley region.

About 150 protestors joined Butler on Friday morning while later that evening the John Butler Trio, Missy Higgins and Clare Bowditch joined former Australian Greens Leader Bob Brown for a free concert at Melbourne's Federation Suqare to support protection of the Kimberley region.

Butler said the Kimberley was one of his favourite places and that the proposed gas refinery was not suitable for the region, The West Australian reported.

“We are gathering outside BHP Billiton to urge the company to pull out of the James Price Point gas project and explore more, practical, profitable and sustainable options in the Pilbara, where existing facilities already are," Butler said.

"They can exploit the Browse gas basin without desecrating one of the most culturally and environmentally rich parts of our country.

"It's so pristine and dynamic; a rich and diverse countryside offering brilliant coastal blues alongside vivid red cliffs. It's culturally and environmentally abundant; a rare and beautifully wild place.

"To think of industrialising this truly special region in order to exploit a resource when it is more profitable and practical to process it somewhere else seems absolutely ludicrous."

The Browse LNG development plans to commercialise three offshore gas fields and deliver the product to the James Price Point project 60km north of Broome.

Protestors want the gas processed offshore or piped to existing facilities in the Pilbara, and claim the area covering James Price Point is a pristine environment.

The James Price Point project's partners include Woodside, Shell, BHP Billiton, BP, Mitsubishi and Mitsui. The project is backed by Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett.

A BHP Billiton spokesman said the company would not comment on the protest nor the project.

Protests against the gas development led to more than 60 arrests last year as protestors tried to block the company’s access to the site.

According to Woodside the completion of front end engineering and design studies during early 2012 means Browse is now in the assurance and commercial evaluation phase.

The Browse LNG Development is expected to have a peak construction workforce of about 6000 (onshore) and 1500-2000 (offshore).

Image: AAP

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