News Wrap

IN THIS morning’s News Wrap: BHP tipped to lift dividends as investors call for cash; Rinehart backs Rudd’s NT tax plan; and BHP Mt Goldsworthy sale stalls over contamination.

Staff Reporter

BHP tipped to lift dividends as investors call for cash

BHP Billiton is expected to crank up dividends, despite the cooling commodity-price boom sending its June-year profit sharply lower, according to The Australian.

But the growth in dividend payout will be the lowest in more than a decade.

The resources sector leader reports its annual result tomorrow afternoon.

Rinehart backs Rudd’s NT tax plan

Gina Rinehart, one of former treasurer Wayne Swan’s primary targets in his tax war against mining magnates, enthusiastically backed Kevin Rudd’s northern development proposals, according to the Australian Financial Review.

The iron ore billionaire founded a lobby group devoted to promoting economic development in the north, Australians for Northern Development and Economic Vision, which encouraged the Coalition to propose its own development plan for the region.

“Congratulations [to] all involved, and please deliver exciting lower tax, lower regulation policies for our north,” Rinehart said.

“Our country truly needs some positive action to get us out of debt and help our future.

“I am ecstatic to hear that, in Australia, both major political groups are beginning to look to the future.

The recognition that our north could thrive with less taxes and less regulation, is very exciting,” she said.

BHP Mt Goldsworthy sale stalls over contamination

BHP Billiton has held confidential talks with Nimbus Mines about selling its Mount Goldsworthy iron ore project, but the sale may be prevented by a potential $100 million bill BHP may have to pay to clean up acid contamination at the site, according to The Australian.

A proposal was reportedly presented to WA Premier Colin Barnett last year, under which BHP would retain the site’s magnetite resources and the private company would reopen the Pilbara site as an underground mine.

BHP also asked Barnett that it be “fully released” from its liability for potentially dangerous acid-forming material found in the waste dumps at the mine site.

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