CANBERRA Aug 7 Australia's High Court found a
controversial profits tax on iron ore and coal mines was
constitutional on Wednesday, a major victory for the government
that introduced the tax in July 2012 at the height of a
China-led mining boom.
The High Court challenge against the tax was led by
Australia's number three iron ore miner Fortescue Metals
and its boss Andrew Forrest, who argued the tax
discriminated against mining states and interfered with the
rights of state governments to impose royalties.
But in a unanimous decision, the full bench of the High
Court dismissed Fortescue's challenge to the Minerals Resource
Rent Tax (MRRT).
"The Court held that the treatment of state mining royalties
by the MRRT Act and the Imposition Acts did not discriminate
between States and that the Acts did not give preference to one
State over another," the court said.
The tax was negotiated by former Prime Minister Julia
Gillard with global miners BHP Billiton , Rio
Tinto and Xstrata, now Glencore Xstrata.
The latest figures show the mining tax, which starts once
profits on a project reaches A$75 million, will raise only A$4
billion in its first four years, well down on the government's
initial A$10 billion estimates.
Australia's conservative opposition, favoured to win
elections on Sept. 7, has promised to scrap the tax if it wins