Gold mine boss warns of roy­alty risks

North West Telegraph - - Telegraph News - Tay­lar Amonini

The Pil­bara’s most prom­i­nent gold miner has hit out at the State Gov­ern­ment’s planned gold roy­alty in­crease, call­ing it a “grab for cash” and puts the re­gion’s gold min­ing at se­ri­ous risk.

Aus­tralia’s largest gold miner Newcrest Min­ing’s chief ex­ec­u­tive San­deep Biswas joined ex­ec­u­tives of some of the world’s largest gold min­ers to urge the WA Gov­ern­ment to re­con­sider a 50 per cent hike in roy­al­ties.

Mr Biswas said the roy­alty in­crease would be a “net neg­a­tive” for the WA econ­omy and it threat­ened the vi­a­bil­ity of it’s Telfer mine, the third largest in WA.

“It is sim­ply not the case that profit mar­gins across the gold sec­tor are strong enough to ab­sorb the roy­alty rate in­crease,” he said.

“We con­tinue to ex­plore at Telfer with just over $10 mil­lion spent in the 2017 fi­nan­cial year. We re­ally need to think hard about whether we con­tinue to do this un­der the pro­posed roy­alty regime.”

Mr Biswas said the roy­alty in­crease would have made Telfer’s profit last year zero.

“Telfer is not the only mar­ginal mine in the State,” he said.

“There are oth­ers and to­gether they high­light the Gov­ern­ment’s lack of prior work and con­sul­ta­tion on the is­sue.

How­ever, Premier Mark McGowan and Trea­surer Ben Wy­att again re­jected the in­dus­try’s com­plaints, al­though the Premier said he would “look at mea­sures to en­sure that if the price of gold goes down the roy­alty in­crease kicks out”.

Fed­eral mem­ber for Du­rack, Melissa Price, echoed the gold min­ers’ con­cerns call­ing the pro­posed hike “poorly thought out”.

“Their em­ploy­ees de­serve the chance to work, they de­serve the chance to get ahead and to sup­port their fam­i­lies and the McGowan Gov­ern­ment has slapped them in the face,” she said.

“This tax in­crease does noth­ing to sup­port the cre­ation of new jobs in re­gional WA, it is a job de­stroyer.”

Ms Price fur­ther com­pared the hike to the in­crease to iron ore roy­al­ties pro­posed by the Na­tional Party dur­ing the March State elec­tion.

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