Pt Lowly unsuitable for BHP desalination plant

A South Australian Parliamentary Committee yesterday recommended that BHP Billiton's proposed desalination plant be built at another location.

A South Australian Parliamentary Committee yesterday recommended that BHP Billiton’s proposed desalination plant at Point Lowly in the Spencer Gulf be built at another location.

The bipartisan Environment Resources and Development Committee concluded in its final report that brine from the plant could cause serious damage to the marine ecosystem.

According to the report, evidence suggested that the brine would not properly disperse as a result of the marine conditions in the Spencer Gulf.

Many of the witnesses heard by the Committee suggested that the plant be built at a different location, the report said.

The Gulf hosts the only known mass breeding site of Giant Australian Cuttlefish in the world, while the Western King Prawn also uses the area for breeding.

The eggs of these creatures would be impacted by the increased salinity, the report said.

In a statement, Greens MLC and Committee member Mark Parnell said BHP was using “glossy spin and weak science to justify Point Lowly.”

“It is just a cover for choosing the cheapest option,” he said.

A spokesperson for BHP declined to comment when contacted by MINING DAILY today, but said the company would be continuing with the next stages of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) procedure.

The company proposed the plant as part of its Olympic Dam mine expansion project and submitted its EIS in May this year.

The public submission period for the EIS closes today.