City of Karratha Council has approved an innovative and sustainable aquaculture project it says will diversify the local economy.
Councillors approved a development application lodged by WRS Bioproducts for an algae farm on the salt flats at the eastern end of the Karratha Airport.
The application saw the algae ponds from the previously endorsed proposal in 2020 expanded from two 60ha lakes to two 98ha algae lakes. The farm would be located in an area referred to as the Eco Hub.
The WRS Bioproducts algae farm would produce low volume but high value beta-carotene in two large hyper-saline and very shallow man-made lakes. Beta-carotene is used world-wide in dietary supplements, functional food, food colouring, cosmetics and animal food supplements. The WRS Bioproducts development would join Rainstorm and EcoMag as companies that have already established operations in the Eco Hub.
Mayor, Daniel Scott said the WRS Bioproducts algae farm was an exciting opportunity for another new industry in the City of Karratha.
“We are focused on diversifying the local economy and supporting new industries as part of our goal to improve sustainability and our vision to be Australia’s most liveable regional City,” he said.
“For a number of years, the City has been assisting proponents of new sustainable industries work towards the aim of creating an Eco Hub in the area around the Karratha Airport.
“The Eco Hub concept emerged in 2017 when a number of project proponents interested in developing innovative and environmentally sustainable new enterprises approached the City and the State Government looking for suitable land with good access to saline water supplies to establish operations in the City.
“The WRS Bioproducts development sits well within the Eco Hub concept and would help sustain our local economy, with additional on-going local jobs. While it has taken a bit of time and a lot of work, it all helps in working towards realising our vision.
“In assessing this development application, the City has given particular attention to minimising and addressing the impact of the development on the surroundings, including the Karratha Airport.”
WRS Bioproducts Executive Chairman, Harry Rosen said the Karratha offered a great opportunity for sustainable aquaculture.
“We looked closely around Australia for the right location for our Algae Farm, and the Pilbara is the best region for algae production,” Mr Rosen said.
“Aquaculture is a vital industry, with algae being seven times mor effective at capturing carbon then land based plants.”
The endorsed proposal is subject to further legislative approvals.