Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Marmion has announced the beginning of the State Government’s temporary iron ore royalty assistance program.
According to his media statement, the rebate takes effect from the December quarter 2014 royalty payment, with the first rebates available to eligible hematite miners in April 2015.
The Minister also stressed that the rebates will be fully repayable within two years, with repayments to be made in accordance with a schedule negotiated between the producers and his Department.
“As I said when announcing this package, this is not a handout, it is temporary relief for mining companies which are actively adjusting their operations,” Mr Marmion said.
“Despite recent difficulties, the iron ore sector continues to produce more than 70 per cent of Western Australia’s mineral exports by value and employs almost 60,000 people.”
He said requests for royalty relief are assessed by the Department of Mines and Petroleum on a case-by-case basis through an extensive financial analysis overseen by an independent probity auditor.
Mr Marmion also announced that BC Iron Ltd was the first mining company to qualify for relief in the form of a 50% rebate on eligible hematite iron ore royalties for up to 12 months, subject to the ore price remaining below an average of $A90 per tonne over the period.
BC Iron Managing Director, Morgan Ball thanked the State Government for the necessary financial backing, saying it would allow the company to pursue its goal of reducing operational costs.
“Smaller iron ore producers make up an important part of the industry that has, and will continue to, generate revenue and jobs for Western Australia. We commend the State Government for providing financial assistance as we seek to implement further cost reduction measures at the NJV during 2015,” Mr Ball said in an ASX release.