CANBERRA Dec 1 Australia's government may
phase-in the introduction of a controversial mining tax for
smaller companies to try and calm opposition to the
profits-based tax, a newspaper reported on Wednesday.
The government was looking at offering some concessions
above the A$50 million ($47.9 million) tax threshold so
smaller miners were not immediately hit with the full impact,
the Australian Financial Review said, without citing a source
for the information.
And in another move to ease concerns held by some of the
fiercest critics of the planned 30 percent tax, the government
could also offer a further longer-term concession by indexing
the A$50 million hurdle, the paper said.
The government has been in negotiations with mining
companies on the shape of the super-profits tax, which it
estimates will raise A$7.4 billion ($7.3 billion) in its first
two years and help deliver a budget surplus in fiscal 2012/13.
Resources Minister Martin Ferguson last month wrapped up
four months of consultation with miners on the tax and
government officials said legislation would be ready to go to
parliament by May next year, with a draft report ready this
In a bid to minimise the chances of a constitutional
challenge, the government was drafting legislation to
reimburse states for lost resource royalties at a standard
capped rate, possibly giving some states a windfall, the paper
Mining companies and the government are at loggerheads
over whether the tax should credit future rises in state
mining royalties, with a cap on the tax and royalties to be
applied at an effective tax rate of around 45 percent.
Ferguson has previously said a discussion draft of changes
to the tax on coal and iron ore miners would be released in
the new year, which would give mining companies another chance
to comment on the final shape of the new tax.
But he said the government would not change key details of
the Minerals Resource Rent Tax (MRRT) from the deal struck in
July with global miners BHP Billiton , Rio
Tinto and Xstrata .($1=1.043 Australian
(Reporting by Rob Taylor; Editing by Ed Davies)