Queensland angers QRC over bauxite changes

Thursday, Mar 28, 2019

   The Queensland Resources Council (QRC) has raised concerns over legislation considered in the state Parliament to amend the royalty rates on bauxite exports.

  The Queensland Parliament reaffirmed a 2008 royalty decision maintaining the existing minimum royalty rate on bauxite for export of A$2/t and a minimum rate of A$1.50/t for bauxite used in Queensland, such as for alumina production.
  But QRC CEO Ian Macfarlane said on Wednesday that it was “extremely concerning” that the Queensland government failed to consult with the industry prior to introducing the legislation to state Parliament, and was unable to explain the purpose of the amendment, why it would apply retrospectively or justify why it was legislating to block legal challenges to bauxite royalty assessments in some circumstances.
  “The government’s lack of transparency and its failure to consult with industry before the amendment was put before the Parliament is a worrying trend, and only serves to undermine the good work of so many people in government and industry to attract new investment, new jobs, new exports and ultimately more royalties for Queensland.
  “There is no suggestion the industry has not honoured its royalty obligations,” Macfarlane said.
  He added that it was critical that the rates of resource sector royalties remained stable, pointing out that during this financial year the state government was set to receive more than A$5-billion in royalties.
  “Already Queensland’s attractiveness for resources sector investors is sliding.  It’s critical that policy and the intent of that policy is clear, consistent and coherent. Queenslanders will pay the price if it’s not. QRC repeats its call on the government for stable rates of royalty or risk losing future investment, jobs, exports and royalties.”
  The legislative push comes just days after mining major Rio Tinto completed the commissioning of its A$2.6-billion Amrun bauxite mine, in the Cape York Peninsula, which is expected to increase Rio’s bauxite export capacity by around ten-million tonnes a year.
  Amrun’s first shipment was made in December 2018, six weeks ahead of schedule, and at full production the mine will have capacity of 22.8-million tonnes a year, with options to expand.

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