September’s top stories: Australia scraps profits tax, India cancels coal licences

9 October 2014 (Last Updated October 9th, 2014 03:45)

The Australian Government announced it would scrap the 30% tax on mining profits for coal and iron-ore, China's lShenhua Group signed a $10bn deal with Rostec to develop coal deposits, while the Supreme Court of India cancelled 214 of the 218 government-awarded coal mining licences between 1993 and 2010. Mining-technology.com wraps up the key headlines from September 2014.

September’s top stories: Australia scraps profits tax, India cancels coal licences

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Gem Diamonds opens Ghaghoo diamond mine in Botswana

British-based mining firm Gem Diamonds opened the Ghaghoo diamond mine in Botswana.

Ghaghoo is the first underground diamond mine in the country and is estimated to hold 20.53 million carats worth $4.9bn.

Gem Diamonds CEO Clifford Elphick said: "This is a significant step forward for Gem Diamonds as a company, as we add another mine to our portfolio of producing assets.

"The potential of this ore body and the economic benefits to shareholders, employees and the Botswana nation will soon become evident."

Indian Supreme Court cancels 214 coal mining licences

The Supreme Court of India cancelled 214 of the 218 coal mining licences awarded by the government between 1993 and 2010.

According to the verdict, out of the 214 blocks, 172 have been cancelled immediately, while the remaining 42 blocks will be cancelled by March next year after they complete their operations.

In addition, the court also ordered firms, which were allocated coal blocks but did not operate them, to pay compensation to the government for the loss of exchequer and ordered affected companies to pay INR295 ($4.83) a tonne for all the coal mined since 1993.

Australian Government to scrap 30% mining tax on profits

The Australian Government announced it would to scrap its 30% tax on coal and iron-ore profits made by mining firms, after it successfully repealed the Minerals Resource Rent Tax (MRRT) in the upper-house senate, with support from six crossbenchers, including Palmer United Party (PUP).

Australia Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said: "The government has received indications from a majority of senators in this chamber that they will support our mining tax repeal package."

The latest amendments include delaying any compulsory increases to employers' superannuation contributions until 2021, retaining the low income superannuation contribution until 31 June 2017, retaining the income support bonus until 31 December 2016, and retaining the schoolkids bonus until 31 December 2016.

Shenhua signs $10bn contract with Rostec to develop deposits iSiberia and Russia

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China's largest coal producer Shenhua Group signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Rostec to develop coal deposits in Siberia and the Far East of Russia.

Under the deal, the companies also plan to develop industrial and transport infrastructure and build generating capacities and high-voltage transmission lines for exporting electricity to China.

As per the MoU, the firms plan to begin exploration work at Ogodzhinsky coal deposit in the Amur region of Russia and construct the $1bn coal terminal, Port Vera, in Primorsky Krai by 2016.

AMCI and POSCO sign deal to support $7bn iron ore project in Australia

South Korean steel giant POSCO and private investor American Metals & Coal International (AMCI) agreed to support China's Baosteel and Australian transport and logistics firm Aurizon to build rail lines and a port for the West Pilbara iron ore project (WPIOP) in Western Australia.

POSCO and AMCI are 50% owners of West Pilbara, whereas Baosteel and Aurizon recently acquired the remaining 50% stake in the project through the A$1.4bn ($1.26bn) takeover of Aquila Resources.

AMCI president Hans Mende said: "The agreement brings together parties that can genuinely underpin delivery of one of the most exciting resource projects on the globe."

Mongolia resolves tax dispute with Rio Tinto by reducing tax claim

mongolia-1The Mongolian Government resolved its tax dispute with Rio Tinto by reducing its tax claims from $130m to $30m, clearing the way for the $4bn expansion of the Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold mine project to resume.

According to two sources familiar with the matter, the National Tax Dispute Settlement Council has reduced the tax claim and the Mongolian Government is waiting for a formal response from Rio Tinto, reported Bloomberg.

In June this year, the Mongolian Government had accused Rio Tinto and its subsidiary, Turquoise Hill Resources, of failing to pay taxes and penalties worth $130m relating to the first development phase of the $6.5bn Oyu Tolgoi mine.

Russia and Zimbabwe to jointly develop new platinum mine

Russia and Zimbabwe are to sign a deal to jointly develop a new platinum mine in the Darwendale district of Zimbabwe, Russian trade minister Denis Manturov and Zimbabwean foreign minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi have said.

Manturov was quoted by Bloomberg as saying: "The priority for us is the Darwendale platinum project."

The proposed mining site has proven reserves of 19t of platinum and 755t of platinum group metals. The mine, which is estimated to be worth $3bn, is expected to have a production capacity of 600,000oz of platinum a year, making it the largest mine in the country.

ABB to deploy automation and electrical equipment at Vale's Carajas mine in Brazil

ABB-1Swiss engineering firm ABB secured a $103m contract from Brazilian mining giant Vale to supply and install electrical and automation systems at its $17.6bn Carajas Serra Sul iron ore project (S11D) in Para state, Brazil.

This latest contract follows the $140m deal signed by the firms in September 2012 for the first phase of the S11D project, where ABB was required to install the primary transmission substation that allowed Vale to operate the process plant.

For the new order, ABB will supply a 230KV in-feed substation and 42 secondary substations to Vale in order to expand the mine's capacity.