City of Karratha

Land reserve for eco-hub

28 Aug 2017

Land reserve at the Karratha Airport could soon be transformed into an eco-hub with three business proposals receiving in-principle support from Council on Monday night.

Sahara Forest Project, EcoMag and Rainstorm have each expressed interest in establishing new enterprises over portions of the Karratha Airport reserve that will use the area’s existing natural resources as a means of production.

City of Karratha Mayor Peter Long said the projects would provide opportunity to diversify industry in the area and Council would continue to assist with investigations to facilitate the establishment of these new enterprises.

“It is exciting that these companies are interested in establishing here and the fact that they are looking at land managed by Council means we can play an even greater facilitative role in helping them get set up,” Cr Long said.

“These businesses are built on utilising natural, renewable resources like sunlight and seawater, both of which are abundant on location. There is also the potential that up to 50ha of PV solar panels will be installed as part of these projects, creating a 20MW solar power plant,” he said.

Pilbara Development Commission Chief Executive Officer Terry Hill congratulated the Council on its progressive and proactive approach to economic development.

“This is a significant milestone and we’re proud to be working in partnership with the City of Karratha to make this exciting opportunity a reality,” Mr Hill said.

“Projects of this nature are shining a spotlight on the Pilbara as a great place to invest, innovate, and develop new industries.”

Alongside these three companies, locally-based YARA Pilbara is also looking at the reserve as a possible future project location and would investigate utilising power from the potential solar power plant at its Burrup site.

“Having these projects set up in the City of Karratha would not only diversify industry but also create additional jobs and increase the sustainability of our local economy,” Cr Long added.

“Council places a lot of emphasis on highlighting and promoting business opportunities across a variety of new enterprise purposes and we will assist each of these companies in their continued investigations into site suitability,” he said.

The Karratha Airport land reserve proposed for use has been identified as surplus to long-term airport planning requirements.

The Sahara Forest Project is a Norwegian-based company that aims to provide fresh water, food and renewable energy in suitable locations by recycling seawater and harnessing energy from the sun. SFP has projects in various stages of development in Jordan, Tunisia and Qatar. The City of Karratha is working with the Pilbara Development Commission and YARA Pilbara on the feasibility of this project, providing financial and in-kind support through town planning expertise.

EcoMag is an Australian company that produces low cost, high purity magnesium compounds from a combination of brine waste streams from large scale salt production processes and solar energy, with reduced CO2 emissions and potential for carbon sequestration. High purity Magnesium Oxide is used in the production of specialty glasses (laptops, smartphones and computer monitors) building products, aeronautical industry, paint filler, metal processing, fire retardants and cosmetics.

Rainstorm has been a specialist in dust control since 1990 and produces dust control and other products for civil works and the mining sector.