There’s only one circumstance in which a corporate profit of over $15 billion looks disappointing. That’s when you made $23 billion last year.

Dollar high, commodity prices down, BHP being cautious. Bottom line: don't blame the Feds for the failure to expand this.

The multinational mining giant formerly known as the Big Australian announced a massive US $15.4 billion net profit yesterday afternoon (simultaneously on stock exchanges around the world, reflecting the global behemoth it has become).

It was reported in some places as ‘BHP profit down 35 per cent’. That’s true. But then last year’s $23 billion mega profit was up 80 per cent on the previous year, knocking all previous corporate profit records out of the park.

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  • Sam says:

    07:43pm | 23/08/12

    Esteban Governments introduce new legislation all the time, remember Work Choices ? That is what destroyed the Howard Government. Saying that there is no guarantee that the mining tax wont be expanded is like saying that the Government will outlaw chewing gum. I have heard nothing at all about expansion… Read more »

  • Little Joe says:

    07:33pm | 23/08/12

    @ Moby 2003 Copper $US1,500/t     Gold $US 400/oz 2012 Copper $US9,000/t     Gold $US1600/oz Explain to me again the impact of the Australian Dollar!!! Read more »


Dear Coal Seam Gas,

Larissa's heart is fracked with guilt. Pic: Thinkstock

I had high hopes, I really did. My friends told me you were the clean and safe energy source of the future. You promised heaps of new jobs. Best of all, you promised to co-exist peacefully and profitably with farmland. I couldn’t wait to meet you.

But things started to go wrong as soon as you arrived. I had imagined maybe some dinner and some conversation, a chance to get to know you. But instead you just marched into Queensland and started drilling, without answering even half my questions. In fact, there are still questions you haven’t answered.

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  • Steve says:

    01:59pm | 17/08/12

    Paddy, you are wrong. CSG supplies about 90% of Queensland’s domestic gas and much of NSW domestic gas (The CSG sold in NSW is mostly from Qld, but some is produced in Camden, southwest of Sydney). it supplies about 20% overall of east coast gas Read more »

  • Ian says:

    10:08am | 17/08/12

    Dear M/s Waters, To complement your thirst for knowledge the attached link from Marathon Oil provides an excellent background to the fundamentals underlying the practice of drilling and fraccing both CSG and oil shale wells. The precautions are constant in both but in this video clip you will find the… Read more »


The 1.3 per cent GDP growth figure in the first quarter of this year is indeed a great result for Australia and all credit goes to the mining and resources sector for driving it.

Ain't nobody called Wayne Swan down here

But Wayne Swan shouldn’t be crowing because any analysis shows it is a tremendous result despite him, not because of him.

The result has come largely off the back of the key resource states in Western Australia and Queensland. And tell me anything Wayne Swan has done to promote the investment and development of these resources?

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  • mike=m says:

    09:45am | 19/06/12

    Joe, we are all in this boat together.  For a large parts of the last century WA and Queensland were propped up by NSW and Victoria and after the miners have gone they will probably do so again. Read more »

  • Little Joe says:

    05:23am | 19/06/12

    Absolutely ...... GST and Mining Royalties are ‘stolen’ from Queensland and West Australia to prop up other state economies Read more »


Australia’s biggest proposed industrial development is looking on increasingly shaky and unsecured ground, with Woodside this week announcing it was asking the Federal Government for a year-long extension on making a final investment decision on its contentious Kimberley gas plant.

Pretty, isn't it. Locals and enviro-campaigners hope James Price Point will stay that way.

That comes less than two weeks after Western Australian Supreme Court Chief Justice Wayne Martin handed the James Price Point gas project its biggest setback by ruling that the WA Government had acquired the land illegally.

The Chief Justice found that the government had botched its rushed attempt to compulsorily acquire the land 60 kilometres north of tourist gateway Broome after negotiations between the government, Woodside and the Kimberley Land Council stalled last year.

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  • Leela says:

    12:22am | 27/12/11

    Real jobs for who? The WA government admits there’s a shortage of the skilled labour required to work on this project.  The so-called real jobs will be for people temporarily brought in from overseas.  As for benefits to the nation? - so s the money can be spent on another… Read more »

  • Glen Klatovsky says:

    11:48pm | 22/12/11

    I think it is important to understand two things. Firstly the sheer scale of this project. If anyone has ever been on site at a gas processing facility, you will understand. These developments are awesome. An amazing feat of human ingenuity. However, completely out of step with the Kimberley coast.… Read more »


Update 6:45am: The Minerals Resource Rent Tax Bill 2011 passed the lower house in the early hours of this morning after a marathon sitting day. Voting on the bill and 10 associated pieces of legislation didn’t begin until almost 12.30am AEDT.The vote on the bills finished at 2.42am. Treasurer Wayne Swan said the historic reform meant all Australians would share in the benefits from the country’s non-renewable resources.

It’s no secret, many Australians are doing it tough. With the constant demands of the mortgage, bills and school fees, it’s difficult for many to provide for their families.

Cartoon: Mark Knight

Meanwhile, at the other end of town, big mining has not only remained immune to the financial squeeze, they’re doing better than ever.

Australian mining darling Fortescue Metals last week announced a $1 billion profit for the last financial year, a profit made without one cent of corporate tax. This comes on the back of a record $22.5 billion profit announced by BHP Billiton earlier this year and Rio Tinto’s 30 per cent increase in first half profits.

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  • Steve Putnam says:

    02:51pm | 26/11/11

    @ jf So you’d do something other than is being done now but you don’t know what; you’d just come up with something other than the MRRT(?) You certainly wouldn’t “cherry pick” anything - whatever that’s supposed to mean in the context of your postings, and you assiduously avoid answering… Read more »

  • jf says:

    11:26am | 26/11/11

    Steve Putnam says: 04:47pm | 24/11/11 “I’m not cherry picking anything. Mining industry groups took exactly that   line in respect of royalties. The Henry Tax Review much the same also.” Sure. But they didn’t go on to say that the MRRT is the best solution. Hence, the cherry-picking. “So… Read more »


The Australian economy is in danger of being torn apart by the resources boom.

He waddles over to the dinner bowl whenever he hears the word Kloppers

The high prices being paid for our minerals, the unprecedented foreign investment to dig up those minerals and the rising value of the dollar are already reshaping our economy.  This is only the beginning.

It will end, all booms do, but this one will take some time and it will bring great change.

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  • john says:

    06:20pm | 14/10/11

    Somebody tell Greg Smith he didn’t run as the ALP candidate for New England Idiots abound and conservative fanboys are liars because that’s all they have. Read more »

  • Labor is Toxic says:

    08:29pm | 13/10/11

    You get what you vote for Joan. In saying this, the Labor Party is so hated in the Electorate of New England that they did not have a candidate in the electorate for the 2010 election. And who did Windsor give power to???? It would be so bad if they… Read more »


Last year BHP helped prove that crying wolf works, provided you crank the volume up to 11. Along with the other mining giants, they managed to convince Australians that paying anywhere near a fair amount of tax would somehow cripple their companies – and the nation.

BHP CEO Marius Kloppers simply can't help laughing. Image: AFP

We know now how the scare campaign played out: a Prime Minister was rolled, a new one installed and the Resources Super Profit Tax became the Mineral Resources Rent Tax.

Within 24 hours this week, in what can only be attributed to a divine act of timing, Australians have discovered how much mining wealth the nation lost and how quickly it’s made by those who squealed so loudly. Yesterday, BHP Billiton announced half-year net profits had surged 72 per cent – to $10.6 billion dollars.

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  • dogfather says:

    08:41am | 20/02/11

    A few short years wil be between 15 and 30 years. Do you dare to dispute this? Hpoefully Australia and Planet Earth will last a helluva lot longer thaI Reserves are finite or were you thinking of burrowing into the earth’s crust? Read more »

  • Pikey says:

    04:06pm | 19/02/11

    Your well right Democrat. Don’t anybody be fooled that in making so much money BHPB is doing it in an efficient and effective manner. The large mining companies waste money like its going out of fashion. If the equivalent management team and structure for BHPB was to run say a… Read more »


Ban the bomb, no new mines, the three mines policy, additional mines, street marches, fear of nuclear terrorism and the existence of rogue states with nuclear power or weaponry have all been elements in the debate about uranium mining, processing or nuclear power for a long time.

Yes, we all loved a good anti-Nuke march, but that's got nothing to do with 21st Century power generation.

Perhaps its time to get past emotion fear and inconsistency and concentrate on rational debate in a coherent manner.

We are a blessed continent with more than adequate supplies of coal, gas and oil. We are major exporters to the rest of the world in each of these commodities. As I write new sources of energy like coal seam gas, costing tens of billions of dollars have become mainstream in Australia.

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  • DaveinPerth says:

    10:39pm | 10/12/10

    @Fiddlesticks.  5 decades is nothing for the Uranium/Plutonium cycle (current light water reactors). You need 5 centuries, minimum. Do the costs on Thorium (LFTR). Cheaper than coal. Cheaper than everything. AND it can be used to clean up the existing storage disaster from light water reactors. Read more »

  • Fiddlesticks says:

    12:58pm | 05/12/10

    I’d be happy to see some serious current study of nuclear power options here, if only to get some hard evidence about life cycle and actual costs. Given that it’d be 20 years before anything came on stream - that’s about the windown we may have left to do something… Read more »


So what is the Resource Super Profits Tax all about?  And what is a resource rent tax anyway? 

Well well well: A Woodside Petroleum's platform on the North West Shelf in the 1990s.

As it happens, I did a PhD in economics on these very questions, under the supervision of Professor Ross Garnaut.  And as an economic adviser to Resources and Energy Minister, Senator Peter Walsh in the Hawke Government, I had the opportunity to implement my PhD findings by helping design the Petroleum Resource Rent Tax in 1984.

Let’s start with resource rent.  Minerals like iron ore, coal, oil and gas possess two special features – they are non-renewable and deposits of them vary in quality and closeness to markets.  These features give rise to resource rent.

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  • Arlen says:

    11:32am | 25/05/12

    Hey All. I stumbled upon your website using ask. This is the pretty perfectly published write-up. I will be sure to save it and go back to go through further of the beneficial info. Thanks for the publish. I will certainly come back. Read more »

  • acotrel says:

    11:19am | 25/06/10

    I find it difficult to have sympathy for mining companies that don’t ‘value add’ in Australia!  Sending thousands of shiploads of ore to offshore processing plants just to exploit the labour of ignorant natives, doesn’t seem right to me! Read more »


As someone who has worked as an accountant or financial analyst for most of the last couple of decades, including in the mining sector, I have been watching the debate about the mining resources super profit tax with some bemusement. People like me understand tax and why businesses make – or don’t make – investment decisions. It is becoming disturbingly apparent that ordinary punters are not getting the information they need to make a reasonable assessment about the merits of this proposal.

Your delivery of misleading statements has arrived. Pic: AAP / File

Frankly, there is a lot of nonsense being talked at present.

Firstly, you can discount almost everything that has been written by journalists, since virtually none of them seem to know anything about business or economics. Most appear to be simply regurgitating other people’s words. I put most business and economics writers into this category, by the way.

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  • David Donovan says:

    02:02pm | 24/06/10

    Yes, @Brad, I definitely did work for a mining company, Downer EDI Mining to be precise (note my bio). I stick by my (admittedly conservative) estimate for minimum ROI necessary for mining investment. I am also not partisan. Actually, I am on record as being anti-partisan politics: I am… Read more »

  • Peasant #3167 says:

    05:59pm | 23/06/10

    My bet is, the mining tax will be well watered down, and next year we will see the GST rise to 12.5%. Read more »


At first blush today’s employment figures are an early Christmas present for the federal government. Some 30,000 jobs were created in November and the unemployment rate, against expectations, crept downwards by the tiniest of notches.

... there's also this. Warren Brown of The Daily Telegraph

But there won’t be any champagne popping in the Cabinet room. There’s a worrying trend beneath the figures: the mining states, which you’d assume are leading Australia’s unexpected economic performance, are actually shedding jobs. It’s the states in the southeast - previously the laggards - where the jobs are being created.

So [the run-up] to Christmas Eve will be a nervous one for Kevin Rudd. Santa could be preparing a big sack of trouble to chuck down his chimney in the form of the national accounts which come out on December 24 16 and should give a clearer indication of any weak spots in the economy.

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  • Public Record says:

    09:42pm | 11/12/09

    Oops… in SA, employment in Nov was effectively flat, despite a small rise in full-time employment (seasonally adjusted). Tired, me. Read more »

  • Brent says:

    08:39pm | 11/12/09

    If Australia is the smart country how come it hasn’t realised that the ets and ‘environmental’ issues are all a big rudd distraction from the fact rudd hasn’t made a dent in health, education, state mess ups and economic development. Read more »


CHINA is a huge country. Its landmass is 25 per cent bigger than Australia, its economy is 10 times larger, it has 60 times as many people and, I am led to be believe, significantly more BBQ duck restaurants.

The Chinalco and Rio deal - off at the last moment

Thankfully, Australia is still ahead in a few areas. We have more stars on our flag, we have won more cricket World Cups and, as developments in the past few weeks prove, we trounce the Chinese in corporate haggling.

Increasingly, Australian business is going to rub up against China. The People’s Republic is our No2 trading partner but is likely to regain the No1 slot from Japan this year or next. And Beijing’s “go global’’ directive, or zou chu qu, means China’s state-owned firms will continue to eye opportunities to join with, or buy outright, Australian companies.

A funny thing happened on the weekend: the world’s second largest greenhouse gas emitter - the US - took the first step towards establishing a carbon reduction scheme and almost nobody wanted to talk about it.

The Obama-endorsed scheme passed the US House of Representatives and only has to clear their Senate to become law.

In Australia, a few people welcomed the vote and applauded the move, but almost no-one dared to lift the carpet and comment on the design of the US scheme.

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  • Sensible says:

    05:29pm | 09/07/09

    Well so much for global progress on emissions. The world’s two largest emitters have refused to sign up to ASPIRATIONAL NON-BINDING targets at the G8. Meanwhile here in Oz we’re charging head towards a scheme that will cut the legs out from under our economy. Read more »

  • David C says:

    11:18am | 07/07/09

    Connor you have evidence of the “hotspot”? Read more »


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