Burrup projects oppose Maitland move

The prospect of moving a suite of proposed big-ticket gas processing facilities away from their mooted Burrup Peninsula sites because of community pressures looks remote after proponents refused to endorse the idea.

Environmental and Aboriginal rock art concerns have forced the WA Government to look at the options of relocating the proposed raft of projects to the Maitland industrial estate, 20 kilometres southwest of Karratha.

However, representatives of some of the planned projects have rejected the idea outright and others are lukewarm about the proposal. Two proposals - Oswal Fertilisers and Syntroleum - have already received environmental approvals.

A Methanex spokesperson said Maitland offered too much uncertainty for its proposed construction startup in March 2003 and a relocation would not be entertained.

Plenty River said transport was an issue with the Maitland site and Japan DME has a strong preference for the Burrup.

Colin Barnett, who as Energy minister in the former Government lobbied hard to attract the projects to WA, now has taken the position that having six processing plants crammed cheek by jowl was not acceptable from an environmental or operational safety point of view. He said long term planning demanded the development of the Maitland estate.

Local Government has dismissed the calls for relocation.