03/08/2010 - 08:50

Spence, Smyth on MRRT transition team

03/08/2010 - 08:50

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The junior mining sector has been snubbed again by the federal government, which today named three former executives from Australia's biggest resources companies to its mining tax implementation committee.

Spence, Smyth on MRRT transition team

The junior mining sector has been snubbed again by the federal government, which today named three former executives from Australia's biggest resources companies to its mining tax implementation committee.

The appointment of a former Rio Tinto manager and two former senior Woodside Petroleum executives comes amid a national advertising campaign by junior miners opposing the government's controversial mineral resource rent tax on coal and iron ore profits.

Treasurer Wayne Swan today named former Rio Tinto executive David Klingner, former Woodside number two Keith Spence and fellow ex-Woodside executive Erica Smyth to the policy transition group that will be co-chaired by former BHP chairman Don Argus and resources minister Martin Ferguson.

Ms Smyth is currently non-executive chair of small uranium developer Toro Energy, but was also previously a senior executive of BHP's gas and mineral sands businesses in WA.

Mr Swan also named KPMG chairman Chris Jordan and Treasury executive David Parker to the committee which will fine-tune the proposed tax after further consultation with industry should the Gillard government win this month's federal election.

The committee snub is likely to further infuriate the junior mining sector, which claims its exclusion from talks between the big miners and the government resulted in a tax that unfairly targets emerging companies lacking the financial capacity of big established producers.

Emerging iron ore miners such as Fortescue Metals and Atlas Iron, in particular, believe the government's tax deal unfairly shields the bigger miners and will make it significantly harder for smaller miners to secure project finance.

Despite the snub, Mr Swan today rejected suggestions that small and mid-tier miners have been shut out of the implementation process for Labor's mining tax.

Mr Swan said both he and Resources Minister Martin Ferguson had spent a lot of time talking to a wide range of miners about the process.

"To say that small miners' interests have not been taken in account is something I reject entirely," the treasurer told reporters at Tuggerah on the NSW central coast.

"This is a genuine approach that we are putting forward, it's full of people of great integrity and experience in the industry, and I believe it will work very well," Mr Swan said.

The group will advise the government in the development of the technical design of the tax and the transition of existing petroleum projects to the proposed PRRT.

The group will consult with companies directly affected by the tax, relevant government departments and stakeholders.

It will be supported by representatives of Treasury, the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism, the Australian Tax Office and the resources industry itself.

It will also obtain advice from other independent experts.

The group will report back to the government by the end of 2010.

Importantly, the terms of reference allow for significant modification as long as any changes do not fundamentally impact on the government's last budget forecasts.

 

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