Rio Tinto boss confident tax rule will be kept

RIO Tinto boss Tom Albanese says he has the “utmost confidence” that Australia’s new government, led by Julia Gillard, will honour the spirit of the modified mining tax agreement it signed with Rio, BHP Billiton and Xstrata in July.

The trio of big miners have become worried that under the new tax they will not be able to claim credits for any future increase in state mining royalties, as they thought was the case in the deal thrashed out in July.

Details of the tax are being worked out by a policy transition group led by the Australian resources minister, Martin Ferguson, and former BHP chairman Don Argus.

Mr Albanese told the Australian Broadcast Corporation’s Inside Business programme that he had the “utmost confidence that they will work through this, and a whole range of other issues”.

He said even though details needed to be sorted out, he thought the final agreement would be in the “spirit of the agreement” made in July.

“The spirit of the discussions in July put us back on the path of investing in Australia,” he told the programme.