KIPT gives progress report on Smith Bay seaport proposal

SMITH BAY: Aerial view of Smith Bay, with the on-land aquaculture facility structures. The proposed KI Seaport is 500m to the west on the right in this photograph.
SMITH BAY: Aerial view of Smith Bay, with the on-land aquaculture facility structures. The proposed KI Seaport is 500m to the west on the right in this photograph.

Kangaroo Island Plantation Timbers has issued a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange on the progress on its Environmental Impact Statement for the development of its seaport.

The publicly-listed company plans to build a 250-metre-long causeway and wood chip exporting facility at Smith Bay on the north coast of Kangaroo Island.

The development received Major Project status from the previous State Labor Government and an EIS needs to be submitted and all objections to be addresses for the project to proceed.

KIPT managing director John Sergeant said he expected the EIS to be released approximately by the end of current financial quarter on September 30.

Mr Sergeant said the project would require dredging of the bay as the water depth at the end of the proposed causeway was approximately 10.5 metres below low tide, which was 11.3 metres below mean sea level.

The sea floor would need to be deepened to allow Panamax-class vessels to safely dock, he said.

The abalone farm directly adjacent to the proposed seaport meanwhile continues to have concerns about the impacts of the seaport proposal on its operation, both during construction and also once the structure is built.

Abalone farm managers are concerned the construction of the seaport will introduce sediment that could kill its abalone and once built would alter currents and possibly introduce foreign marine pests.

KIPT’s ASX EIS announcement makes specific mention of the abalone farm stating the causeway would provide “increased protection” for the farm from effluent from Smith Creek, located to the east of the seaport.

Mr Sergeant said the causeway built between the creek and the abalone would block run-off from the creek reaching the abalone farm’s intakes.

Yumbah Aquaculture Kangaroo Island general manager Dave Connell said KIPT’s proposal was already having negative impacts with the company unable to plan for expansion due to the uncertainty of the proposed development.

“KPT’s ASX announcement on Tuesday, July 10 stating it has made ‘refinements to the design of in-water structures to provide increased protection’ for our abalone farm, is deeply concerning,” Mr Connell said.

“Once again, KIPT is attempting to downplay the significance and scale of this development and the devastating impact it will have on our business, Smith Bay and Kangaroo Island’s north coast.”

Local Member for Mawson Leon Bignell has said he would not approve or support any development that had any negative impact on the Yumbah abalone farm.

Conservationists meanwhile hold concerns that Smith Bay is a calving area for endangered southern right whales and so want the proposal to be reviewed under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. 

Mr Sergeant said the EIS would address issues under the EPBC Act and that he did not believe southern right whales would be negatively impacted on by the in-water structure built at Smith Bay.

KIPT was planning to have typically 10 ships docking with a maximum of 18 per year, he said.

He said be believed regular, daily shipping movements were a greater threat to whales.

KIPT in the ASX statement says it will work with Kangaroo Island Council and SA Government regarding an agreed road route to Smith Bay, and “the use of high-productivity vehicles over that route”.

Mr Sergeant said the EIS process required a minimum six-week consultation period.

While this consultation was managed by the SA Government, Mr Sergeant gave assurances it would be a robust process with all objections being addressed and sessions would take place on Kangaroo Island.

ASX statement:

“KPT is negotiating with various government agencies, with a view to eliminating all outstanding matters of contention before lodging its EIS,” the ASX statement reads.

 “As far as possible, it is the  company’s aim to lodge the EIS in a form capable of rapid approval. This has involved:

  • Refinements to the design of in-water structures to provide increased protection to the neighbouring onshore abalone farm from creek effluent, which is currently an acknowledged source of problems for that business.
  • Relocating the dredge footprint in such a way as to increase separation from the nearest sensitive receptors.
  • Refinements to the in-water design to limit the causeway footprint in deeper water, while enabling larger Panamax size vessels to berth safely.
  • Refinements to the design of on-land facilities, to enable efficient materials handling and to work more effectively within the constraints of the site.
  • Working with Kangaroo Island Council and with the Government of South Australia regarding an agreed road route to Smith Bay, and the use of high-productivity vehicles over that route.

“The company expects to have these matters sufficiently finalised to enable the lodgement of the EIS at the end of the current quarter.”