Ord Valley farmers still awaiting environmental approvals needed to make Kununurra cotton gin viable

Stephanie SinclairThe Kimberley Echo
The first cotton crop for Kununurra's MG Corporation.
Camera IconThe first cotton crop for Kununurra's MG Corporation.

Despite last week receiving a $32 million loan integral to development of a Kununurra cotton gin, Ord Valley farmers are still awaiting environmental approvals that would make the local processing facility viable.

Land development of 6000 hectares at Knox Plain, leased by Kimberley Agricultural Investment, is on hold, with approvals specific to the rare plant species, Typhonium sp. Kununurra, still pending.

Development of the Knox area is critical to open land to grow enough cotton to supply a local gin, which has been designed for an initial processing capacity of 120,000 bales each year.

Typhonium is a threatened perennial herb located primarily within the Shire of Wyndham-East Kimberley on the Ord River Irrigation Area.

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development undertook an extensive survey on the threatened flora in the region early this year, and is awaiting approval from the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions on a Typhonium impact assessment to progress development plans. The outcome was expected last month.

A WA Government spokesperson said assessment was now expected by the end of September.

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