A major project in Western Australia that will produce low-emissions fertiliser from salt lakes has received a significant investment boost from the Morrison Government.
Up to US$47 million will be provided by the Morrison Government to Salt Lake Potash Ltd to support production of low emissions sulphate of potash from vast salt lakes in Western Australia. The project finance loan will be provided by the Government’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC).
Sulphate of potash is a useful fertiliser in regions prone to drought and high salinity as it does not increase the chlorides in the soil upon application.
Salt Lake Potash Ltd will use a 5MW solar farm and a 2MW battery as part of its production plant. It will extract hyper-saline brine from beneath the surface of the salt lakes, concentrating the brine in a series of evaporation ponds to produce potassium rich harvest salts that can be converted to sulphate of potash.
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Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor said the project will create around 430 full-time jobs in Western Australia during the construction phase and more than 100 ongoing jobs, including opportunities for members of local Indigenous communities.
“Australian farmers are among the most efficient farmers in the world and they will benefit from having access to new low-emissions fertiliser to improve crop productivity and help lower emissions in the agricultural sector,” Minister Taylor said.
“This project could lead to a new export industry for Western Australia while also helping to meet the growing demand for food in Australia.
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“This project will also create new regional jobs at an important time as the Australian economy recovers from COVID-19.
Innovative projects like this will help lower emissions in the agriculture industry. This project in particular has the potential to cut emissions by more than 30 per cent compared to other non-brine sulphate of potash production methods.
The latest National Greenhouse Gas Inventory for the December quarter 2019 found agriculture accounted for 12.9 per cent of Australian emissions, with around 4.0 per cent of agricultural emissions from fertiliser use.
The Australian Government through the CEFC has committed more than A$470 million in Western Australian investments across the renewable energy, energy from waste, bioenergy, resource and property sectors since 2013.