Royalty rates review for minerals

​Submissions close on the royalty rates review for minerals on 7 December 2012.

We commented yesterday on the companion taxation proposals.

Broad approach

The discussion paper recommends a hybrid approach with an ad valorem (AVR) and an accounting profit (APR) component because this provides both a guaranteed minimum return to the Crown at the outset of production and upside where the mine is highly profitable.
The existing threshold for royalty payments ($200,000 in annual net sales revenues) will be retained.
The new rates will be applied to new permits only. 

Scope of the review

The review covers all other Tier One minerals – commercial gold, silver, coal, ironsands, platinum group elements (PGE), phosphates and seafloor massive sulphides (SMS).
It seeks to apply a more consistent and transparent regime which:
  • provides the Crown with a “fair” financial return on the development of its mineral estate
  • catches up with movements in commodity prices for gold, silver and coal since royalties were last reviewed in 2008, and
  • maintains international competitiveness, particularly against Australia.
Petroleum royalties are not subject to review as the Government considers that they already provide a fair financial return and are internationally competitive.

Recommendations

  • Coal, gold, silver, PGE, ironsands, phosphates and SMS permits: the higher of a 2% AVR or a 10% APR. 
  • Underground coal gasification: the higher of a 1% AVR or a 10% APR.  This is a holding rate to be reviewed once the project economics for this mining activity are clearer.
  • A threshold for applying the APR of $5 million for coal and $2 million for gold, is intended to distinguish the few highly profitable and productive mines from the many smaller, more marginal fields.  No threshold will apply to other minerals as the Ministry considers that any future such mine developments would have to be very large anyway. 

Comparison with current rates

​Mineral​​Current rate​Proposed rate
​​Coal​$1.40/tonne hard and semi-hard coking                                                            

80c/tonne thermal and semi-soft coking

30c/tonne lignite

Plus a energy resources levy of
$1.50/tonne for South Island lignite
and $2/tonne for opencast coal mines.
​Higher of 2% AVR, 10% APR
(applied to accounting profits over $5m).
​Underground coal gasification​Decided at the discretion of the Minister​Higher of 1% AVT, 10% APR
​Gold and silver​1% (for sales revenue < $1.5m) or 2%
AVR (for sales revenue > $1.5m)
​​Higher of 2% AVR, 10% APR
(applied to accounting
profits over $2m)
​PGE​1% (for sales revenue < $1.5m) or 2%
AVR (for sales revenue > $1.5m)
​​Higher of 2% AVR, 10% APR
​Ironsands, phosphates, SMS​​Decided at the discretion of the Minister​Higher of 2% AVR, 10% APR
 
The total Crown take from mining (taxes plus the new royalties) is expected to be around 35% of accounting profit which is thought to be internationally competitive and likely to have a negligible impact on future mine development.

However, the new regime, once in place, will be hard to change so the consultation phase on both the royalties and the taxation reviews are important.  Chapman Tripp’s commentary on the tax paper is available here.

For further information, please contact the lawyers featured.

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Related topics: Mining; Energy & natural resources

 

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