Environmental studies have been released for a major saltworks project in Onslow have been released, a project an environmentalist group has said would be a serious risk to the ecosystem of Exmouth Gulf. The Environmental Review Document for the $850 million Ashburton Salt project was made public by German company K+S, which has countered critics by arguing extensive studies had been made to ensure the project won’t have a significant environmental impact. Protect Ningaloo has said the project would threaten nutrient delivery into Exmouth Gulf and could also lead to toxic hypersaline water seeping into the gulf, threatening species including critically endangered sawfish and shovelnose rays. “The right thing for K+S to do would be to withdraw its project for the good of the Exmouth Gulf ecosystem and its long list of threatened species but instead the community now has to dig deep once again and fight a project that shouldn’t have left the drawing board,” Protect Ningaloo director Paul Gamblin said. “There is an alternative, positive future for Exmouth Gulf with many new opportunities to protect its globally significant natural and cultural heritage and the jobs it supports, and to enhance economic resilience through sustainable, nature-based economic activity.” K+S Salt managing director Gerrit Godecke said extensive studies had been carried to minimise the environmental impact of the project “K+S Salt Australia has spent six years and $10m in research into the environment and ecosystems in and around the proposed Ashburton Salt project,” Mr Godecke said. “Research into nutrient pathways was conducted over several seasons as part of coastal, surface water and nutrient pathway studies.” “These studies were conducted by independent environmental consultants and peer-reviewed by an EPA-approved, third-party expert. These experts found that there would be little to no impact on the Exmouth Gulf.“ The Environmental Review Document will be open for public comment until September 4 at https://consultation.epa.wa.gov.au/open-for-submissions/ashburton-salt-per/ .