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Released on 2012-02-29 14:00 GMT

Email-ID 1025329
Date 2010-05-27 16:59:30
ATTRIBUTION: Australian contact connected with the government and
natural resources
SOURCE DESCRIPTION: Former Australian Senator. Source is
well-connected politically, militarily and economically. He has become a
private businessman helping foreign companies with M&As
PUBLICATION: Yes but with no attribution

Xstrata has announced that it has cancelled all exploration in
Queensland's NW resources province. This is a huge area of Queensland
centred around Mt Isa.
By way of explanation, Xstrata bought MIM (Mt Isa Mines) about a decade
ago. MIM opened up the NW minerals province in the 1920s, and the Mt Isa
mine is still one of the world's largest producers of copper, lead, silver
and zinc. The province has also spawned other mines such as Mary Kathleen
(Australia's first uranium mine), Ernest Henry (copper gold mine), George
Fisher (lead, zinc, silver), Lady Annie (copper) and Century (the world's
second largest zinc mine).
This is a major statement of no confidence, and also a hit to overall
revenue. The point to note is that if the companies do not explore on
their exploration tenements, they forfeit them. This leaves the door open
for the Chinese to come in and snap them up, as I predicted.

In another note on the topic in response to whether or not all of the
backlash against Rudd for the resources task is really bluster and whether
or not the mining companies can actually do anything about it more than
just gripe:

On Rudd and the RSPT, it is very complex. Companies like Fortescue and
Xstrata are serious about cancelling projects and exploration. There is a
difference, too, between the coal miners and the metalliferous miners.
Coal exploration has a much lower risk profile in Australia because of
the uniformity of the coal measure in Eastern Australia. That is not the
case with iron ore and other metals which are the result of volcanic,
rather than sedimentary processes. Coal miners will continue to invest
but metalliferous miners will not. This is not a bluff. These guys are
fair dinkum.
As to the application of the tax, Rudd is not saying that the proceeds of
the RSPT will go to pensions. In fact the proceeds go to consolidated
revenue and are therefore unhypothecated.
The Rudd line is that part of the money raised from the RSPT will go to
fund reductions in company tax, which will then be taken from the
companies in an increased in the company contribution to superannuation.
Because it funds superannuation, there is not benefit to current
Bu the problem is that the RSPT has wiped billions of dollars from the
value of the stock market, and therefore from the value of existing
pension funds. The increase in the company contribution rate to super
will not, in the short to medium term, offset the losses from the value of
share portfolios.
Overall public sentiment is probably against the tax 55% to 45%. If I can
find the latest Morgan Poll figures, I shall send them to you.
Rudd's popularity has slumped. There has been a bounce for the Coalition.
Some polls put the Coalition in front of a 2PP (two party preferred)
basis, others have Labor ahead by 0.5% on a 2PP basis. What I do know is
that the Coalition needs more than 3% lead on a 2PP basis at the moment to
win government, because the Australian electorate always swings to the
government in the second half of an election campaign.