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Mining tax needs to include gold, uranium: Brown

The Gillard government's proposed mining tax needs to be amended to include gold and uranium, if not all minerals, and the daft plan to refund royalties should be dropped, Australian Greens Leader Bob Brown said in Canberra today.

"If you're going to have massive profits flowing offshore to foreign owners, why not divert a percentage to fund services that people need - now and into the future?

"The Treasurer needs to reconsider extending the mining tax across to gold, uranium and other minerals. The nexus with royalties should also be dropped - it's daft. States have the right to set their own levels of royalties but the open cheque book approach to refunding companies being taken by the federal Treasurer is nonsensical.

"Australia has the means to adequately fund education, health, transport. It should not have a watered-down mining tax pass into law that fails to collect potential funding sourced from resources that belong to the nation," Senator Brown said.

In 2010, four of Australia's biggest gold mining companies were 100% foreign owned and, overall, the industry is 81% foreign owned. An indicative estimate of MRRT revenues from gold is $840 million over the forward estimate period and $1.8 billion over the next 10 years.

Using ABARES' forecast gold volumes and a modest gold price of about $A1,500/oz, the value of gold exports will reach as high as 17% of the value of combined iron ore and coal exports. Gold's exclusion from the MRRT is therefore a significant drain on revenues.

Australia is the world's second-largest gold producer, behind China. Production is dispersed worldwide and Australia has about 13% of the world's gold resources. Iron ore, with a similar level of the world's iron ore resources, has not seen a reduction in investment interest since the introduction of the proposed minerals resource rent tax.


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