Australia's most credible, independent voice on issues affecting regional Australia
25–27 October 2017
Upper Spencer Gulf, South Australia
We are very excited about hosting this year’s SEGRA conference in the Upper Spencer Gulf- it will be the first time in the 20-year history of the conference that it will be held in South Australia.
The three cities each have their own identity and role as a service centre to their rural and remote hinterland, but share a strong connection and common interest based on their industrial heritage and capabilities.
The Upper Spencer Gulf is quite literally the ‘crossroads of Australia’, with convergence of the nation’s major road and rail connections between Darwin - Melbourne and Sydney – Perth.
Whilst we have suffered our fair share of economic shocks and negative perceptions, the reality is we have a lot of new, exciting growth opportunities that are taking advantage of our strengths - for example:
- Port Pirie’s ‘Nyrstar’ lead smelter is currently undergoing a complete transformation that will see its transition into a multi-metals recovery facility, with potential to process e-waste. The half a billion dollar project will also see waste heat from smelting operations used for co-generation, resulting in greater ‘in-house’ electricity production and a reduction in the plant’s carbon footprint.
- Six years ago UK based ‘Sundrop Farm’ established a pilot greenhouse facility near Port Augusta to trial the use of solar thermal energy to desalinate seawater and produce heat for intensive ‘arid land’ horticulture operation. Site expansion was completed last year with the company now in full production of hydroponically grown truss tomatoes that are distributed nationally to Coles stores under an exclusive 10-year contract.
- A partnership between the University of Adelaide and Murdoch University to commercialise large scale, renewable green crude oil – or ‘biocrude’ commenced in Whyalla with a pilot plant in 2014 and expansion the following year. Muradel’s technology now enables a number of different feedstocks to be processed to green crude including wastewater treatment plant sludge, biosolids and used car tyres !
- Last year, South Australia’s last coal fired power station – located at Port Augusta – shut down. In its place are proposals for building large scale ‘solar thermal’ renewable energy plants, which can provide 24-hour electricity. One, from U.S. based company ‘Solar Reserve’, uses existing ‘molten salt’ based technology for storing the solar energy, with another proposal from Australian company ‘SolarStor’ that is proposing to use new graphite block technology.
The journey of the Upper Spencer Gulf - its tenacity, innovation and connection to a stunning and ancient landscape will be a strong feature of this year’s SEGRA conference.
We look forward to seeing you then.
Mayor Sam Johnson
Mayor Lyn Breuer
Mayor John Rohde