Rio Tinto Paid No Mining Tax Throughout The Last Financial Year: Reports

Getty / Paula Bronstein

Mining giant Rio Tinto paid no mining tax throughout the tax’s first year, after the tax office refunded its sole, $74 million payment.

The Australian’s Matt Chambers reports that Rio made a Minerals Resource Rent Tax (MRRT) payment of $74 million for the March quarter, when iron ore prices were relatively high, but the sum was refunded.

Rio boss Sam Walsh told journalists yesterday that the mining tax hadn’t kicked in because commodity prices were low:

“[The MRRT] is basically working as it was intended, it was designed as a tax on super profits. We’ve seen that iron ore prices have reduced and that as a consequence of that, we’re not seeing great triggering of the mining tax.”

Rio Tinto yesterday said its net profit fell 71% to $US1.72 billion in the 6 months to 30 June, due o $1.85 billion in non-cash exchange losses, a writedown on its Kennecott Utah Copper mine, lower commodity prices and taxes.

Walsh told journalists in February that the company paid no mining tax throughout 2012. The MRRT was introduced on 1 July last year.

Here’s what he said at the time, according to the ABC:

Given that the MRRT is a tax that kicks in when prices are high, you certainly won’t expect to have an MRRT liability when commodity prices are low. Accordingly, we paid no MRRT in respect of the year ended December 31, 2012.

Rio Tinto is one of the highest taxpayers in Australia. In 2011 I understand that we were the highest taxpayer in Australia. Our tax payments per annum are around $7 billion.

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