Glencore won't be selling Australian coal through its Singapore hub, as the questions mount for mining giants over tax

(Photo by Nicky Loh / Getty Images)

Glencore will cease selling Australian coal through its Singapore marketing hub as it works to simplify the corporate structure it inherited through acquisitions of companies like Xstrata.

The miner confirmed at the Senate inquiry into corporate tax today that Australian coal sales will be managed straight from here.

“Following Glencore’s acquisition of Xstrata we have integrated Xstrata’s coal marketing business into Glencore’s global coal marketing function. Australian coal sales will now be done directly from our Australian companies to end customers,” the company said.

Glencore revealed it made a $1.4 billion loss in Australia for the 2014 financial year and on $13 billion of revenue paid $77 million in tax.

BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto confirmed they’re being audited by the Australian Tax Office over their operations in Singapore.

The accusation being put to the mining companies is that the Singapore marketing hubs are being used to reduce tax bills.

BHP Billiton head of tax Jane Michie told the inquiry the audit was an “ongoing process” but was unwilling to go into detail or provide a “running commentary”.

Both BHP corporate affairs boss Tony Cudmore and Michie refused to answer numerous lines of questioning from the Senators including how much revenue was transferred to Singapore from Australia and how much tax was paid in the hub.

Cudmore claimed the information senators were asking was commercially sensitive, a claim which was rejected by the committee. BHP agreed to take the information requests on notice.

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