City of Karratha councillors have approved a development application submitted by WRS Bioproducts for an algae farm on the salt flats near Karratha Airport.
The application outlines a size increase for the algae ponds from the previously endorsed proposal in 2020 expanding them from two 60-hectare lakes to two 98-hectare algae lakes.
The WRS Bioproducts algae farm aims to produce low volume, but high value beta-carotene in hyper-saline, shallow man-made lakes. Beta-carotene is used worldwide 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.
City of Karratha mayor, Daniel Scott, noted the WRS Bioproducts algae farm is an exciting opportunity for another new industry in the City of Karratha.
He further stated in a press release: “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.”
WRS Bioproducts executive chairman Harry Rosen said the Karratha offered a great opportunity for sustainable aquaculture.
Rosen stated: “We looked closely around Australia for the right location for our algae farm, and the Pilbara is the best region for algae production,” before going on to say “aquaculture is a vital industry, with algae being seven times more effective at capturing carbon than land-based plants.”
Scott also added: “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 endorsed proposal is still waiting for further legislative approvals, but the company is optimistic these approvals will come soon.