Mining the Kimberley, Western Australia
The Kimberley region of Western Australia is full of riches. From the 40,000 year cultural history of the Traditional Owners to the wild and now protected Montgomery Reef to the billions of dollars of iron ore, oil, gas, diamonds and coal in the ground, this remote place is the next frontier in the battle of cultural and environmental wealth versus extracted mineral wealth. It is hard to image a place the size of California with just 40,000 permanent residents could have such an impact on national politics in Australia. But when a oil and gas company spends $30B to build a LNG plant, you get the idea. The wealth here is immense and has the opportunity to make Australia a super energy power on the planet. And onshore oil and gas tenements in the Kimberley, covering an area the size of the UK (24,000,000 hectares), is now under the control of just three mining companies. The three companies – Buru (funded by Mitsubishi); New Standard Energy (funded by Conoco Philips) and Kingsway Oil – control the massive mining tenements in the Canning Basin, South West of Fitzroy Crossing. This is not about mining in the future. The industry is in full force today and you can see from the revenue numbers from Western Australia below.
I was very lucky to arrange a flight from Fresh Water Cove on Camden Sound back to Derby which is around 250 km North of Broome. The two hour flight in a R44 gave me the opportunity to document the coastal range and sheer vastness of this part of the Kimberley. Our funding support for the MUCRU scientists at Murdoch University and for documentary film work supporting the Save The Kimberley organization will continue into 2013 as we continue to help tell the story of the riches of the Kimberley.
YouTube video describing the Montgomery Reef and its role in the marine ecosystem