Australia's mining tax resolved: Resources Minister

15:47, October 07, 2010      

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Australian mining industry understood the new mining tax is going ahead, and is now focused on the way to apply the tax in their best interests, Resources Minister Martin Ferguson announced on Thursday.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard's first task after ousted former Labor leader Kevin Rudd was to negotiate the 30 percent minerals resource rent tax (MRRT) with three big miners in July this year - BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Xstrata - and has dump the even more contentious 40 percent Resource Super Profits Tax (RSPT).

However, small and medium-sized miners are still unhappy with the deal, while the consultation transition group process has been delayed by the Aug. 21 federal election.

After hearing miners' concerns in Perth on Thursday, Ferguson, who co-chaired the first consultation meeting with mining companies of the federal government's Policy Transition Group, signaled the 50 million dollars (49.3 million U.S. dollars) taxing point for the minerals resource rent tax could be adjusted.

"I think the industry is now focused on the fact that the government is clear in its intent to put this tax in place," Ferguson told Australia Associated Press on Thursday.

Their job was to try to frame the issues that go to the application of the tax, Ferguson said.

Ferguson said the intention was to hand a report to Treasurer Wayne Swan before Christmas.

"Clearly the issue of the 50 million dollars (49.2 million U.S. dollars) threshold has been raised but in terms of our consideration, that's a matter we'll have to discuss in due course with the treasurer."

The mining companies had urged Ferguson to resolve matters by Christmas this year.

The minister said it was intended to finalize draft legislation before the end of the financial year and have further consultations, with the legislation taking effect in July 2012.



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