Sunday, January 31, 2010

Premier talks tough over ore royalties

Mr.Colin Barnett,
Premier of Western Australia,

Dear Premier,

We refer to the reports below for your information.

We wish to congratulate you that the minerals belonged to the States and WA would never give up its sovereign ownership of natural resources.

Yours respectfully,

Eddie Hwang
Unity Party WA
Ph/Fax: 61 893681884
Date: 11- Nov - 2009.
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Premier talks tough over ore royalties
ROBERT TAYLOR and PETER KERR, The West Australian November 11, 2009, 2:25 am
Colin Barnett claims to hold the whip hand in royalty negotiations with mining giants BHP-Billiton and Rio Tinto over the proposal to merge their WA iron ore assets.

Ahead of last night's scheduled meeting with BHP boss Marius Kloppers and Rio's Tom Albanese, Mr Barnett said yesterday the deal required State Parliament's approval.

The Government wants BHP and Rio to pay the same full royalty new producers such as Fortescue Metals pay for iron ore.

The mining giants negotiated concessional rates in original State agreements when the industry was being established in the Pilbara but a merger requires a new State agreement.

"I'll be detailing what the State's expectations will be if they proceed (and) the State's expectation will be that they pay the price for iron ore," Mr Barnett said.

"We're 50 years on, they're not investing in towns today. That was appropriate in the 1960s and 70s when the mines were being developed."

The Government has written $540 million into the State Budget over the next four years in anticipation of a new royalties deal.

Mr Barnett also wants the companies to give smaller producers access to their rail lines and has not ruled out pushing for a windfall stamp duty on the merger despite the probability it would require special retrospective legislation.

Also, Mr Barnett again warned that WA would "never give an inch" on its mining taxation powers after reports suggested the Commonwealth was keen to pursue a proposal to share mining royalties through a rent resources tax.

Mr Barnett said the plan was "foolhardy" and would mean companies paying higher taxes with a devastating impact on WA's mining industry.

He said constitutionally the minerals belonged to the States and WA would never give up its sovereign ownership of natural resources.

Mr Barnett ruled out ceding some royalties to Canberra in return for a share of other revenue streams such as income tax.

Japanese giant warns Rio merger could affect trade
NIPPON Steel chairman Akio Mimura is pressuring West Australian Premier Colin Barnett to block the BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto Pilbara iron ore merger, labelling mining oligopolies uncompetitive and a form of resource imperialism.

He cautioned that companies and governments should exercise discipline and uphold the principles of free and fair trade to prevent the strong Japanese-Australian trade relationship from deteriorating.

His comments came as Mr Barnett met with BHP's chief executive, Marius Kloppers, and Rio Tinto CEO Tom Albanese in Perth last night to discuss the government's demands for a higher rate of royalties as part of any joint production plan.........

And in a thinly veiled threat to BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto, Akio Mimura said countries must be wary of letting major resources companies grow to a size where they could abuse their market power.

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