Traditional Owners from the Buurabalayji Thalanyji Aboriginal Corporation (BTAC) worked with heritage specialists from Archae-aus and engineering consultants from GHD, to identify and record any Aboriginal heritage sites and tailor the geotechnical sampling program so that any risks were avoided.

Results of the survey were delivered to the geotechnical team in real time and boreholes or test pits were realigned to protect cultural heritage sites from any disturbance.
The work is part of the environmental impact studies being completed by K+S Salt Australia.

Managing Director Gerrit Gödecke said K+S Salt Australia was committed to developing the project with minimal impact to environmental and cultural values.

“It is extremely important to work with the Thalanjyi people, who hold native title for the Onslow area, to ensure cultural heritage sites are identified, recorded and preserved,” he said.

“We are mindful that we are working on their traditional lands and we respect their knowledge and centuries-old connection to the area.”

Paul Baker, Technical Director at GHD, said the drilling was also important to form the basis for further detailed engineering work at the proposed site.

“The multidisciplinary team at GHD successfully completed an intensive geotechnical drilling, groundwater bore drilling and soil sampling across the project area to investigate geotechnical and soil conditions as a basis for further detailed engineering work for the project and investigate key environmental matters such as groundwater and soil characteristics,” he said.

The process of conducting project engineering and environmental studies for the Ashburton Salt Project will continue throughout 2020.

The results of the survey will be shared with the community as part of consultation programs for the full project studies.