A recent surge in iron ore prices has not been enough to lift profits beyond the levels needed to trigger the mining tax, despite the government’s forecast of $2 billion in revenue from the controversial impost this year alone. The Australian can reveal that none of the big three miners BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Xstrata will make payments when they are due next week, while Fortescue Metals Group confirmed it would not do so either.
An unexpected surge in the global iron ore price has put the budget surplus back within reach.
The iron ore price had climbed from a September low of $US86 a tonne to $US135 a tonne when the Treasurer, Wayne Swan, abandoned his commitment to a budget surplus late last month. It has since risen to $US158 a tonne.
Forecasters from Deutsche Bank are expecting the price to hit $US170 a tonne within weeks.
If sustained, the near doubling of the iron ore price would boost company tax revenues and lead to a surge in mining tax payments, putting government revenue back to near what was forecast in the budget.