WA miners assured certainty for royalties review

The review into mining royalties in Western Australia should be made public as soon as possible, according to mines minister Bill Marmion.

The draft review will go before Premier Colin Barnett for discussion this week.

The West Australian reported Marmion “hinted” he would recommend a staggered start to any changes to royalties, given the impact of commodities price drops.

“The review had a number of terms of reference, one of which was to take into account the condition of commodity prices at the time,” Marmion said.

“That will obviously be a factor in the discussion we have later this week.”

The WA government announced the review in May 2012, which was intended to justify changes to bring royalties up to 10 per cent of the value of resources.

Terms of reference for the review were not launched until August 2013.

In the last 12 months the gold spot price has dropped from US$1382 down to around US$1210 per ounce, with a US$15 drop since Tuesday night.

Royalties for gold and nickel are currently 2.5 per cent, and 7.5 per cent for iron ore.

Gold miners have lobbied against royalty hikes, saying that there are many small producers that could not afford additional expense on marginal profit ratios.

Gold spot prices have seen a downward trend since the short-lived high of US$1900.30 in mid-2011.

Image: West Australian 

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