Fortescue CEO suggests link between mining tax deal and uranium sales to India

Yesterday's announcement by Australian PM Julia Gillard to consider lifting the ban on uranium sales to India is raising eyebrows at one of the country's largest iron ore producers.

News.com.au reports Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) chief executive Neville Power questioning whether the proposed sales would benefit BHP's Olympic Dam uranium mine in South Australia: "You would wonder," Power said yesterday at Fortescue's Port Headlands wharf in Western Australia.

While he has no evidence to support the speculation, and government sources are not talking, Power pointed out that "there was a deal done between BHP and Rio Tinto and Xstrata with Julia Gillard to bring MRRT in," says the story:

And now out of the blue Julia's decided that it would be a great idea to export uranium (to India) and free that up for Australia.

"So who knows. Perhaps it's got to do with development of Olympic Dam?"

The Mineral Resources Rent Tax is expected to raise $11 billion in its first three years.

MINING.com reported last month that BHP Billiton may face delays in getting approvals for its $30 billion Olympic Dam expansion, as Greens and other minor parties holding the balance of power in the South Australian Parliament push for an inquiry into the project.