BHP urges Chile gov’t to make further concessions on tax bill with $10bn at stake

Escondida mine, Chile. (Image courtesy of Municipalidad Antofagasta | Flickr )

BHP Group is looking for Chile’s government to make further concessions on a tax bill currently under debate in the senate before proceeding with an estimated $10 billion in investments in the country.

The government has already made changes to the so-called royalty bill, bringing down the average effective tax rate to an estimated 46%. Chile’s major competitors have a tax burden somewhere between 41% and 44%, BHP’s President Minerals Americas Ragnar Udd told reporters in Santiago.

The world’s biggest miner is urging the country to work with them to ensure fiscal stability, regulatory certainty and an end to “excessive” permitting times in order to unlock the copper needed for the global clean-energy transition. BHP “would desperately like to make investments in Chile,” with an expansion at the giant Escondida mine “an obligation,” he said.

Chile’s Mining Minister Marcela Hernando said earlier Tuesday that the government is confident it can smooth out differences with the mining industry before a vote on the royalty bill in congress this week.

Melbourne-based BHP is examining options with communities to tap “a fantastic sulfide deposit” at Cerro Colorado, but that will take years to get off the ground, Udd said. In the meantime, the mine will shut at the end of the year with the expiration of permits.

At its stalled Resolution project in the US, BHP is committed to working with partner Rio Tinto Group and communities to understand if there’s a pathway forward, Udd said.

(By James Attwood)


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