Canberra undermining MRRT, industry says

Two major miners have accused Canberra of pulling out of certain mining tax agreements.

Two major miners have accused Canberra of pulling out of certain mining tax agreements.

Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton have voiced their concern that the Government may back out of the agreement which stated that all State royalties would be refunded under the new Mineral Resources Rent Tax (MRRT).

However, the Government stated that while it would cover the initial rates it never intended to cover any future increases of the royalties.

At a recent Senate inquiry, Rio Tinto stated that it had already carried out major investment decisions to the tune of $7.2 billion based on the inclusion of State royalty increases under this tax.

BHP added that it was always clear during discussions with Government groups earlier this year that the agreements included varying State royalty prices.

According to the Government, the heads of agreement is non-binding, allowing them to make changes to the legislation at will.

Liberal senator Mathais Cormann has told the ABC that the Federal Government is attempting to renege on its deal with the mining industry.

"There is no ambiguity there – the Government is now trying to say that all doesn’t mean all – that all in fact means some," Cormann said.

It’s understandable why the major mining companies aren’t happy with that, he added.

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