Published: Saturday 04 July 2015

A coalition of environmentalists declared plans to build the world's largest salt works near a delicate whale-breeding lagoon as "illegal" and said the owners were guilty of environmental violations. The salt plant will be built at the San Ignacio lagoon in Baja California state.

"A new salt plant at Laguna San Ignacio is categorically and firmly illegal, and scientifically inadmissible," said the Coalition to Defend the San Ignacio Lagoon in a report. The coalition represents 58 environmental groups including Greenpeace and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (ifaw).

Exportadora de Sal (essa), a joint venture between the Mexican government and Japan's Mitsubishi Corporation, who have planned the new salt works, was not immediately available for comment. essa in the past has vigorously defended its environmental record and said claims that the new plant could kill off whales and sea lions were "lies." The plant would supply 100 per cent of Japan's industrial salt needs. The environmentalists maintain that as a protected area, it would be illegal to build a plant that may affect the ecosystem. This area is one of only four in the world where gray whales come to mate and calve after migrating 10,000 kilometres from the Bering Straits down the us Pacific coast each year.

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