A report in yesterday's The Australian Financial Review cited a senior government figure and officials as saying the mining tax would raise far less than the claims made by the government, with a source close to Treasury disclosing a figure of less than $5 billion.
The sources believe the commodity price and volume assumptions used by the government and provided by BHP Billiton, Xstrata and Rio Tinto are “unrealistic and required downward revisions”.
The former Resources Super-Profits Tax announced in May was expected to deliver $12 billion in revenue while the watered down Minerals Resource Rent Tax was initially expected to raise $10.5 billion.
However, this was revised last month with the government flagging revenue of $7.4 billion.
The news comes after the Policy Transition Group, led by Resources and Energy Minister Martin Ferguson and former BHP Billiton chairman Don Argus, handed down its recommendations on the design and implementation of the proposed MRRT to federal Treasurer Wayne Swan earlier this week.
In a win for the major miners, the PTG suggested that all current and future state and territory mining royalties be offset under the MRRT, with Swan accepting the recommendation.
This was a back-down by the federal government after previously insisting that only current royalties, not future ones, would be credited to the miners.
The report and Swan’s words received a heated response from the mineral-rich states, with Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett saying the state would never back the capping of state royalties by the federal government.