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Interview with WA Rural Report, ABC South West WA

6 August 2020

Jared Lucas

Subject: Potash, Clean Energy Finance Corporation.


EMMA FIELD: Let's talk resources - for months now, we've been hearing about the race to become Australia's first commercial producer of potash, which is used in fertilisers. Among the frontrunner is the ASX listed Kalium Lakes. Construction of its Beyondie project, 160 kilometres south east of Newman, is more than 50 per cent complete. Yesterday, another hopeful, Salt Lake Potash, was told the Federal Government's Clean Energy Finance Corporation will provide a loan of up to $65 million to fund the Lake Way project in the WA Northern Goldfields. ABC reporter Jared Lucas spoke to the Federal Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor.


ANGUS TAYLOR: Potassium is enormously important in agriculture, and this is a type of potassium fertiliser which is lower emissions and lower cost to produce from brine. This is a great opportunity, this is a great spot at Lake Way is to do exactly that. Now on top of that, the process itself uses a lot of energy, and this will be using solar and batteries - a little local micro grid, if you like - to produce that energy with low emissions. We know agriculture is one of the higher emitting sectors we have and so to bring down the emissions of the fertiliser is extremely important to bringing down emissions for agriculture more generally. But the beauty of this project is it is low cost fertiliser anyway, and to have that as low emissions is particularly good for agriculture and for Australia.

JARED LUCAS: So Salt Lake Potash, the proponents of this new mine, have said they hope to be in production early next year. So, I mean, how many jobs do you think this will create?

ANGUS TAYLOR: It'll be about 430 full time jobs in Western Australia during the construction phase, and about 100 ongoing jobs, including opportunities for members of the local Indigenous communities. And our hope is if we're successful with this project, we'll see more like it, creating more jobs into the future, as well of course at the same time as strengthening agriculture and ensuring and underpinning the jobs that come from agriculture. Australian farmers use a lot of potassium. It's a very important ingredient, alongside phosphorous and sulphur. But potassium is very, very important. We import, of course as you said now, and here is the potential to create an industry for Australia, providing our needs, providing export opportunities. We think there's real potential there, and doing it in a way which is relatively energy efficient and low emissions whilst creating jobs.

[End of excerpt]

EMMA FIELD: That was Federal Minister for Energy and Emissions Reductions Angus Taylor there, speaking to reporter Jared Lucas.