Forest Nannas fined over silicon smelter action

Twenty nine people were issued with fines over the action at Simcoa silicon smelter just outside Bunbury on January 17. Photo: Mike Wylie
Twenty nine people were issued with fines over the action at Simcoa silicon smelter just outside Bunbury on January 17. Photo: Mike Wylie

A group of grandmothers campaigning for an end to the logging of native forests in the South West have been fined over their latest action.

The group said a crowd of around 100 people including supporters from the WA Forest Alliance staged a 'Citizens' Inspection' at the Simcoa silicon smelter just outside Bunbury on January 17.

The Nannas say that the action was not aimed at Simcoa but at the State Government which is responsible for the management and sale of our state-owned forests and for decreasing the state's greenhouse gas emissions.

Spokesnanna Di Shanahan says that the aim of the inspection was to get footage of the acres of Jarrah logs piled up ready to be made into charcoal.

"We want to show - not tell - the community, where our native forests end up", she says.

"Simcoa has a contract with the McGowan Government to buy up to 260,000 tonnes of Jarrah per year from logging and clearing operations.

"That's the single largest volume of Jarrah logs available to any one company and it's all is going up in smoke. These contracts must be terminated, and alternative sustainable fuels sourced.

"The future of our forests and all the biodiversity they contain depend on it - our forests are worth far more standing."

Around 100 people including supporters from the WA Forest Alliance staged a 'Citizens' Inspection' at the site. Photo: Mike Wylie

Around 100 people including supporters from the WA Forest Alliance staged a 'Citizens' Inspection' at the site. Photo: Mike Wylie

Forest Industries Federation WA (FIFWA) Executive Director Melissa Haslam said it was important to value add, and ensure every piece of timber goes to its highest value use.

"FIFWA supports the full utilisation of harvested timber and residue forests products," Ms Haslam said.

"We are very fortunate in WA to have high grade silicon production, which uses residue jarrah in a reduction reaction to produce silicon.

"This silicon is shipped all around the world for products such as microchips for mobile phones and computers, lubricants, sealants, even solar panels.

"This represents an excellent, highly value-added use of a residue product."

The Nannas said many in their number found participation difficult due to the heat of the day, but felt it was important to highlight the fate of the jarrah forests.

Organiser Peta Goodwin said the experience was emotionally draining but that the Nannas have vowed to keep up the campaign to convince state government of the need to stop logging in our native forests

"The company requested police officers to issue infringement notices to all those who had gone inside the fenced off area to carry out the inspection.

"Twenty seven Nannas and two camera crew are now facing fines of $500 each for trespass."

This story Forest Nannas fined over silicon smelter action first appeared on Augusta-Margaret River Mail.