Ferguson, miners, butt heads in Perth

Resources Minister Martin Ferguson took part in vigorous debates at a business breakfast in Perth today, over the new Mineral Resources Rent Tax.

Resources Minister Martin Ferguson took part in vigorous debates at a business breakfast in Perth today, over the new Mineral Resources Rent Tax.

Attending the breakfast with a number of mining companies in an attempt to promote the tax, Ferguson told over 100 resources industry representatives that there is still plenty of time to work through the newly proposed tax and concessions may still be made.

The meeting has followed concerns raised by junior miners that the tax does not represent the industry as a whole.

The juniors also highlighted their disappointment at the scrapping of the exploration rebate

“The Government’s done a deal with the two South Africans and an American,” Atlas Iron head David Flanagan told the ABC, referring to closed negotiations the Government held with mining giants Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton and Xstrata over the Resources Super Profits Tax.

In Perth, Ferguson stated that the views of all mining companies that were consulted since the Henry Tax Review have been taken into account.

“I adopt the view that all the companies, big and small, that we have spoken to over the last two months have been listened to,” he said at the conference.

However, many miners at the conference reacted angrily to the Government’s new MRRT, and questioned whether the proposed tax rate of 30%, which after rebates falls to 22.5%, will be raised again in the future.

Ferguson agreed to consider the possibility of re-instating tax rebates for exploration costs and to also exempt the growing magnetite iron ore sector from the tax.

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