News Wrap

IN THIS morning’s wrap: miners lose out on royalty refunds; Palmer, CITIC in royalty fight; and nuclear energy must be open to debate, NSW committee finds.
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Clive Palmer.

Lou Caruana

Miners lose out on royalty refunds

The major mining companies will be limited on refunds they can claim for state royalties under a plan for the federal government to impose new restrictions to shore up revenue from the controversial mining tax, according to the Australian Financial Review.

The GST review, which looked at the way the tax was distributed among the states, was also asked to examine state resources royalties and was understood to have recommended putting a limit on the credits available under the minerals resource rent tax.

Any overhaul of the mining tax could spark a fresh war with the miners, who argue any change would overturn the 2010 agreement that ended a multi-million dollar campaign against its predecessor – the resource super profits tax.

The proposed change would mean that if states increase royalties, only a set amount would be refundable to miners such as BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Xstrata, which are expected to contribute about 90 per cent of what the mining tax is forecast to raise.

Palmer, CITIC in royalty stoush

Mining magnate Clive Palmer has turned on his Chinese allies, claiming CITIC Pacific is “running scared” because the state-owned company has no chance of beating him in court, according to the Australian Financial Review.

Palmer is locked in a battle with CITIC over when the company should begin paying royalties for iron ore mined at the Sino Iron project near Cape Preston in Western Australia, as a deal he once described as “risk-free” turns sour.

Palmer said CITIC Pacific, part of a Hong Kong-listed division of the Chinese conglomerate, should abide by Australian law.

“It’s about actually doing things in accordance with the rule of law – Australia is not a communist country,” Palmer said.

Nuclear energy must be open to debate

Federal laws should be changed to permit more open debate on the potential of nuclear energy for future electricity supplies, a NSW parliamentary committee has recommended, according to The Australian.

The NSW public accounts committee report on the Economics of Energy Generation said government should avoid state subsidy schemes and not seek to pick energy winners.

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