materials can be substituted for peat in virtually all its applications
although opinions differ as to their effectiveness and comparative
performance." (Oakes, 1997) Possible alternatives to the use
of peat in horticultural applications:
pine bark fines
vermiculite, perlite and some zeolites are amongst the mineral substitutes
for peat, as are derived substances like rock wool.
to Emerald Peat P/L:
such as coir are considerably less expensive than peat. The 1982
Commission of Inquiry into Peat Mining at Killarney Swamp concluded
that peat remained an important component in some horticultural
mixes and that developing a new peat mine was in the public interest
(Exhibit 56). There are horticultural uses where peat is not required
or where alternatives such as coir meet certain customers' requirements.
There are other customers who clearly do either require it or
wish to use it (Exhibit 11: Royal Botanic Gardens; Exhibit 68:
Olympic Co-ordination Authority). Others have a commercial interest
in promoting non-peat products (Exhibit 22: Nichols/Debco).
a matter of market choice. The fact that peat is considerably
more expensive than coir indicates that those customers who prefer
peat are prepared to pay a premium to use it, and there are no
market distortions operating in favour of peat use. Thus pricing
acts as a disincentive to the use of peat compared to coir. This
demonstrates a real community need for peat, a need which should
be capable of being satisfied.
to the Department of Mineral Resources:
that peat continues to be imported into Australia in significant
quantities, and that production from the Wingecarribee Swamp mine
has increased steadily over recent years, it is clear that these
peat alternatives or substitutes have not been universally accepted
by the market, and are evidently considered by at least some consumers
to perform less effectively. The substitutes are invariably significantly
cheaper than peat, yet demand for peat (both the local product and
imported material) remains strong. The conclusion seems self-evident:
the market prefers peat to the so-called substitutes.
Ellison, Summary of Submissions by Emerald Peat Pty Ltd, 1997.
Michael Oakes, Senior Geologist, Land Use and Resource Assessment
Section, Geological Survey Division, NSW Department of Mineral Resources,
The Wingecarribee Swamp Peat Deposit: A Submission to the Chief
Mining Warden's Inquiry into Renewal of Special Lease 567 and 568
(Act 1906) to Mine Peat, 1967.