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Mining tax 'no threat' to Olympic Dam project: Weatherill
15/06/2012 - BHP Billiton has not raised concerns over the mining tax possibly being expanded to impact the Olympic Dam project, South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill says.
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Both federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and the state opposition have called on the federal government to give the mining giant a guarantee the mineral resources rent tax (MRRT) won't be extended in the future to include copper and uranium.
They say without such a guarantee the proposed $30 billion expansion at Olympic Dam is at risk.
But Weatherill said the only person suggesting the tax might be applied to Olympic Dam was Abbott.
"It has not even been suggested by any other commentator," the premier told state parliament on Thursday.
"More importantly, we are in regular contact with BHP and they have never once raised this as a concern."
During a two-day visit to Adelaide this week Abbott said the federal government would both extend and increase the tax after the next election.
"This government, of course, will clobber other parts of the mining industry, it will increase the rate of the mining tax," Abbott told reporters on Wednesday.
"Because they need the money."
BHP is expected to make a decision by the end of 2012 on the proposed expansion at Olympic Dam which will create the world's biggest open cut mine in South Australia's north.
The state government has approved the expansion, but legislation passed by state parliament requires the company to make a decision by the end of the year.
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