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HomeIssue 12Salt mine a great opportunity for Titjikala?

Salt mine a great opportunity for Titjikala?

Salt deposits in thick beds and domes have been found near Titjikala, on Maryvale Station, 120 kilometers south of Alice Springs.
The deposit is believed to be one of Australia’s largest and and will provide its first underground salt mine, according to the managing director of Tellus Holdings, Duncan van der Merwe.
He says: “The project should also provide substantial research and business opportunities for Alice Springs  business and research institutions, including community development, Indigenous employment and  training, renewable energy and micro-business opportunities, such as bush foods.
“Tellus has used the results of historic oil and gas exploration to identify several extensive salt beds in Central Australia as salt and oil and gas beds tend to occur together.
“The results suggest the Chandler salt bed formation has very high grade halite that can be used for  edible and industrial salt.  It also contains minerals that can be used in fertilisers and industrial  applications,” Mr van der Merwe said.
Tellus is completing a pre-feasibility study and plans to conduct drilling later this year to confirm the resource.
Should the mine go ahead, it would produce high quality rock salt, or halite, which would be  processed on site, trucked to the nearby railway and mostly exported to Asia where edible and  industrial salt are in demand for products such as chloralkali, soda ash, water treatment and  livestock.
Tellus is also looking at a processing and packaging plant for edible gourmet salts and other  specialty salt products that could be in Alice Springs.
Mr van der Merwe said salt mining is a low impact activity that would have a small surface footprint and little visual impact.
“Tellus is planning an initial mine life of 25 years, which is likely to be extended by another 25  years.  However the underground deposit is so huge that the potential mine life is virtually limitless,” Mr van der Merwe said. (Media release)
PHOTOS: A salt mine project may breathe some life into the main street of Titjikala. Photo courtesy MacDonnell Shire. “Room mining” in a salt mine in Canada.


  1. Fantastic news, absolutely the sort of opportunity Alice Springs must grab with both hands. We must do absolutely everything we can to encourage and assist this development, improve the roads, make available affordable land in quantities for housing etcetera. Another fantastic opportunity for a growing Alice Springs

  2. I am in complete agreement with Steve on this.
    It’s an economic opportunity where before there was none. Unless something truly negative comes to light, we must grasp these chances when they come along.

  3. I have got some serious concerns about this project. Through reading the Environmental Assessments Register regarding this project the waste repository aspect of the project would currently be exempt from any NT legislation governing waste management. This is due to the current exemption of mining, gas and petroleum activities from the Water Act and Waste Management and Pollution Control Act.
    Although the EPA has a rather comprehensive list of issues for the company to address as part of its Environmental Impact Assessment Process – the elephant in the room is the exemption of this project from the single act that governs waste management in the NT. Without any NT regulation governing the management of mining, gas, petroleum and agricultural waste products being stored in the belly of this site mine – I cannot provide any support for this project and instead warn all to read between the lines on this one.
    Most of the salt is proposed for the Asian market and will end up as drilling fluid for the mining, gas and petroleum industry over there. With a much less regulated industry in SE Asia and less accountability for environmental disasters such as the Lusi or Sidoarjo mud disaster see the link below…, we really have to question ourselves as to whether this truly is a project that we want to support.
    If we don’t yet know how we’re going to regulate this proposal for storing waste locally – how we can be sure that this project won’t create the next mud volcano or local disaster for our northern neighbours. Yes it’s only salt – 50 million year old salt – but if it’s used for fracking and pollutes groundwater supplies elsewhere, then it’s another loss for the global population and a win for wealthy mining companies.

  4. Thanks for your concern, Jimmy. Inadequate regulalory processes, often non-existent, are revealed by the award winning book, ‘Minefield: The Dark Side of Australia’s Resources Push’ (Paul Cleary. 2012: Black Inc. Victoria).
    Media accounts this week detail Rio Tinto’s support for the Australian Minerals Council’s push for NSW resource bids.
    Flaws in mining regulatory processes in that state have led to an unseemly lack of concern for farming communities.
    Employment creation without transparent environmental legislation may be short term gain, leaving a mess for future generations and poor global citizenship.


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