Mining tax no real deterrent, Barrick says

Despite many fears within the industry that the mining tax would discourage foreign investment and mining, Canadian Barrick Gold Corporation says that Australia is still a good place to do business.

Speaking at Diggers and Dealers, Barrick Australia Pacific's managing director Mike Feehan stated that "the geopolitical climate here is [still] friendly towards mining", SBS reported.

"You struggle with a lot of the same issues and challenges that we have in North America.

"The shortage of labour is certainly a big one, being able to attract professionals to the business. Regulations have become much more stringent here as in North America.

"I would say the difference between the two are very minor."

While Feehan's view are mostly positive, Australian miners are still fighting against the tax.

Fortescue Metals Group's joint High Court challenge with the Queensland Government was only earlier this week adjourned.

The case is on hold for one month and will allow FMG to make changes and give the Government time to reply.

Earlier this year FMG said the mining tax challenge would be made on constitutional grounds.

The Queensland Government soon announced plans to join the company in the battle, but other state government's have so far refused to join the action.

However despite antagonism within Australia, Feehan said globally the tax isn't harming Australia's attractiveness.

"I don't think [the tax] makes it unfriendly," he said.

"Governments across the world will decide what course of action they will take.

"From a business perspective, it is up to us to understand where those costs come from and the cost pressure that come with those taxes."

He went on to say that sovereign risk was not nearly as great in regions such as North America, Australia and parts of South America.

Many countries with large mining industries are planning to bring in drastic changes to their existing mining tax and royalty mechanisms, and are eager to get more out of the mining companies.

2011 saw many governments make the move on the industry, and ining companies in Australia, South America, Africa and Asia have either witnessed a change in their mining tax regime last year, or will soon bear the brunt of increasing tax in the near 

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