Australian Labor Party believes carbon, mining taxes likely to be repealed
Two mining sector taxes that have been controversial since their start will likely be repealed later this year. The taxes were implemented during the Labor Party’s tenure in office, while the mining boom was in full swing.
Australian legislators approved the “super profits” tax on iron ore and coal producers during the decade-long mining boom the country experienced. The tax to Australia’s two most lucrative exports and a tax on carbon emissions were met with strong dissent from top mining companies and interested lobby parties.
"This was a bad idea that reduced Australia's ability to compete with other countries," chairman of the Minerals Council of Australia, Andrew Michelmore, said. "It was growth in mining exports, principally coal and iron ore, [which] helped Australia through the worst of the global financial crisis."
Those opposed to the carbon tax have commented that cost has increased for both the industry and public because of the legislation, and little has been achieved as far as cuts to emissions go. And global mining giants with operations in Australia – like BHP and Rio Tinto – have agreed, further explaining that the taxes are out of line for this time period after the mining boom.
The recent impact on the mining industry has been widespread. A deflation of metal and coal prices has stymied much of the boom’s energy in mining, so much so that one-third of major resource projects t hat had originally been approved since October have either been shelfed or cancelled altogether.
Current Prime Minister Tony Abbott made abolishing taxes a cornerstone of his campaign to win him and the Coalition the election. However, recently many are wondering if Abbott will be able to make true on his promises. Independent lawmakers like Clive Palmer and his party are in opposition to the repeal of the taxes; with the balance of power leaning away from Abbott in the upper house come July, it will be interesting to see if the legislation will hold.
Ben Pearson, Greenpeace’s environment director, has commented that Bill Shorten, Labor Party leader, has forfeited so soon.
"There was an opportunity to tell the world that an industrialised country like Australia was not headed backwards on the environment," Pearson said. "That's now been lost."
"The mining tax, I suspect, will be repealed despite Labor's position," Shorten commented recently at a meeting of mining executives in Canberra.
Vale invests $150mn to extend life of Manitoba operations
Vale has announced a $150mn CAD investment to extend current mining activities in Thompson, Manitoba by 10 years while aggressive exploration drilling of known orebodies holds the promise of mining well past 2040.
Global energy transition is boosting the market for nickel
The Thompson Mine Expansion is a two-phase project. The announcement represents Phase 1 and includes critical infrastructure such as new ventilation raises and fans, increased backfill capacity and additional power distribution. The changes are forecast to improve current production by 30%.
“This is the largest single investment we have made in our Thompson operations in the past two decades,” said Mark Travers, Executive Vice-President for Base Metals with Vale. “It is significant news for our employees, for the Thompson community and for the Province of Manitoba.
“The global movement to electric vehicles, renewable energies and carbon reduction has shone a welcome spotlight on nickel – positioning the metal we mine as a key contributor to a greener future and boosting world demand. We are proud that Thompson can be part of that future and part of the low carbon solution.”
Vale continues drilling program at Manitoba
Coupled with today’s announcement, Vale is continuing an extensive drilling program to further define known orebodies and search for new mineralization.
“This $150mn investment is just one part of our ambitious Thompson turnaround story. It is an indicator of our confidence in a long future for the Thompson operations,” added Dino Otranto, Chief Operating Officer for Vale’s North Atlantic Base Metals operations.
“Active collaboration between our design team, technical services, USW Local 6166, and our entire Thompson workforce has delivered a safe, efficient and fit-for-purpose plan that will enable us to extract the Thompson nickel resources for many years to come.”
The Thompson orebody was first discovered in 1956 by Vale (then known as Inco) following the adoption of new exploration technology and the largest exploration program to-date in the company’s history. Mining of the Thompson orebody began in 1961.
“We see the lighting of a path forward to a sustainable and prosperous future for Vale Base Metals in Manitoba,” said Gary Annett, General Manager of Vale’s Manitoba Operations.