Greens gold stance slammed

A new report by Surbiton Associates into the current gold market has slammed the Greens’ stance on the industry amid its calls to include the metal under the mining tax.

In September last year, Greens leader Bob Brown called for gold to be included in the Mineral Resources Rent Tax, saying it would add more than a billion dollars to government revenues over the next decade.

Currently iron ore and coal are the only minerals that come under the mining tax.

It came after research showed that by adding gold, it could generate an additional $1.8 billion for the nation.

"Reflecting Australia’s status as the world’s second-largest producer of gold after China, if the original mining tax not been abandoned in 2010, gold would have contributed even more,” Brown said.

He went on to say that there is “no theoretical justification for gold’s exclusion from the MRRT.

In November it renewed the push, with Greens member Adam Bandt calling on the Gillard Government to bring gold under the tax.

"Gold is traded on international and local markets. To suggest it can’t be taxed because it is mined with other minerals is simply not right", Bandt said.

However in Surbiton’s report, which outlines the progress of gold over the past year, it raised worries over the Greens targeting gold.

Sandra Close, a director of Surbiton, said she was ‘extremely concerned by the claims of the Greens’ and their calls for gold to come under the auspices of the MRRT.

"I have already highlighted the misleading and incorrect information on the gold industry contained in a report the Greens released late last year," Close said.

"Just last week, Senator Bob Brown specifically called for gold to be included in the MRRT, basing his arguments on the fundamentally flawed report.

"It is a real concern when politicians use faulty figures to justify their policies,” she said. "It’s quite clear that the Greens have little understanding of the gold industry and they don’t even seem to appreciate that gold is at the other end of the scale to the bulk commodities of coal and iron ore."

Close went on to say that the Greens’ estimates of the size of the Australian gold industry and that it is equal to the amount of gold export "is crazy, because Australia imports, refines, and re-exports a large amount of gold which has been mined in other country.

"Either the Greens are just naive or they are deliberately trying to inflate the gold industry numbers, so they can justify their claims for what tax it might yield," Close said.

Actual gold output for 2011 remained steady while prices rose to record highs.

Production dipped slightly year on year, with 264 tonnes of gold produced on 2011 compared 266 to in 2010.

The year’s output was worth approximately $13.5 billion.

Despite the dip, Australia remained the second largest gold producer for the year.

Price was, gold started under $1400 per ounce in both US and Australian dollars, however it soon rose to A$1807 per ounce but soon leveled out to around A$1600 per ounce.

The Greens had not returned Australian Mining’s calls for comment at the time of publication.



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