Salt mine south of Alice a step closer

Sir – Australia’s first underground rock salt mine is one step closer, with Tellus Holdings starting the environmental approvals process with the Territory and Australian Governments, including extensive community and stakeholder consultation.
Tellus has appointed the Darwin office of Coffey Environments to coordinate the environmental approvals process for the proposed salt mine and Low Ecological Services in Alice Springs to do baseline ecological studies.
The company hopes to develop a rock salt mine on one of several exploration licences it holds near Titjikala, on Maryvale Station about 120 kilometres south of Alice Springs.
The deposit is also believed to contain valuable minerals such as magnesium and potash, which are used in fertilisers.
Should the project go ahead, it would produce high quality rock salt, or halite, which would be processed on site, trucked to the nearby railway line and mostly exported to Asia, where edible and industrial salts are in demand for products such as chloralkali, soda ash and water treatment.
Tellus also hopes to establish a speciality salt processing facility in Alice Springs with a training and visitor centre which would provide opportunities for a number of microbusinesses and increase the number of jobs generated by the project.
Once the salt is mined, the voids left behind will be used to store products such as archives, equipment and waste.  This could include drilling muds from the oil and gas industry, salt fluxes from the mining industry wastes and local wastes like asbestos.
The mine will not take nuclear, uranium mining or biological waste or any materials that are not safely containerised or sampled.
Another element of the project is a proposed staged hybrid diesel solar energy plant that will be used to power the mine and potentially nearby communities.
The project is expected to generate about 270 construction jobs and 350 direct and indirect operational, with Tellus committing to employ and train as many local people as possible as well as looking for ways to grow local businesses to work with the mine.
Since the project was announced in March, Tellus Holdings has completed a successful first stage capital raising and pre-feasibility study.
The Department of Mines and Energy has approved a Mine Management Plan Exploration Operations.  Tellus has signed an exploration agreement with traditional owners, through the Central Land Council, which is about to conduct sacred site clearances with traditional owners so
environmental surveys and seismic drilling work can start on the proposed mine site and access and haulage roads.
Work on a Definitive Feasibility Study will start in earnest early next year to look at all aspects of the project, such the best mining method, logistics, costs and technical aspects of the project.
This will let Tellus make a decision about whether we apply to the Government to proceed to mining.

Duncan van der Merwe
Managing Director
Tellus Holdings Ltd

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