The newly released report, prepared by Economics Consulting Services, follows the Ashburton Salt Project’s recently completed engineering, site layout and pre-feasibility studies.

It found that construction of the Ashburton Salt Project would inject more than $144 million into the Onslow region (including Exmouth and Karratha) and $292 million into the Western Australian economy. Importantly, seawater, sun and wind is renewable, so the project has the potential to offer indefinite economic benefits.

Once operational, it would then go on to provide a $48 million a year boost into the Onslow region, which works out to just under $2 billion over 40 years.

The report added that the Ashburton Salt Project would generate 270 construction jobs, with local contractors and suppliers used where possible, and 90 permanent jobs for residents in the Onslow region once operational. These ongoing positions would see up to $12.8 million being brought home by local employees each year, a significant boost to local community.

The study also found that if given the go ahead, the Ashburton Salt Project would contribute up to $1b in Federal Government taxes, $155m in State Government taxes, and $20m in Local Government taxes over the 40 years, bolstering economies across the board.

Ashburton Salt is a new solar salt project planned for an area south-west of Onslow, just across the Ashburton River.  The project is being developed by K+S Salt Australia, a local company established by German-based K+S. The proposed project will be located on salt flats south-west of Onslow, just across the Ashburton River.

K+S Salt Australia Managing Director Gerrit Gödecke said that despite some setbacks due to COVID-19, the project is nearing the completion of the environmental studies stage.

“We have been busy finalising the remaining environmental studies as we progress the Ashburton Salt Project and we expect to be able to share results of these later this year,” Mr Gödecke said.

“We are also hoping to submit our Mining Lease Application shortly and look forward to engaging with Traditional Owners to negotiate a Native Title agreement that benefits everyone.

“We are hoping to achieve all approvals in 2021, so a final investment decision can be made.”

A substantial economic boost