Quick facts about the gas proposal by the State Government and multi-nationals Shell, BP, Petrochina, Mitsubushi, Mitsui and Woodside
The largest gas refineries in the world are proposed at James Price Point 50km north of Broome in the Kimberley, Western Australia.
The Kimberley coast has been identified by scientists as being one of the least impacted coastlines on the planet comparable to coasts in the Antarctic and Arctic.
The sea off James Price Point is home to the world’s largest humpback whale population (Group IV). They travel from Antarctica every year to calve in the pristine, safe waters of the Kimberley (see latest research here).
The proposed industrial port would be in the middle of a marine wonderland. As well as the whales, there are sawfish, dugong, turtles, snubfin dolphin, seagrass beds, sponge gardens, reefs and more.
The James Price Point area on the Dampier Peninsula is very important for monsoon vine thickets (a rare and threatened ancient type of rainforest found only here). A number of threatened fauna are listed as likely to be found in the area according to the Federal Government. The area has been recommended for conservation since 1962 see Walmadany Lit Review.
Recently a new colony of rare and threatened Bilbies was found, despite Woodside having spent millions on environmental surveys and finding nothing. A community led survey filmed and photographed a mother and three joey’s next to their burrow (see here).
Industrialising the Kimberley
If the proposed gas refineries went ahead it would be one of the largest gas processing precincts in the world. This is what would happen to the area if it was built:
- 52 square kilometre marine ‘deadzone’ because of dredging and blasting for a new industrial port
- An oil spill would reach one of the world’s most famous beaches, Cable Beach in 1-10 days
- 34 million tonnes of dredge spoil dumped into the pristine Kimberley waters = filling the MCG 20 times
- A 5-7km channel dredged to deep water
- 30 billion litres of wastewater that the gas hub would release into the ocean annually
- 1,700 tonnes of benzene emissions every year – a carcinogen – Australia’s largest single point source of benzene
- 8 Gas and oil pipelines that would come ashore as part of the gas hub
- 39 Millions of tonnes of greenhouse gases that the gas hub would emit every year (50% increase in WA’s emissions)
- 3000 Hectares (30km²) of bulldozing – Kimberley woodlands including 130 hectares of monsoon vine thickets (a rare ‘dry’ rainforest classified as a ‘Threatened Ecological Community’ more information here)
- 8,000 construction workers that would turn Broome into a rough mining town
Massive support to protect the Kimberley
The Broome community, with support from all over the world, has shown intense opposition to the industrialisation agenda for the region. Check out youtube for an example of how the community ‘s struggle is going. Facebook has many sites dedicated to the campaign.