Mining Week 04/’12: First test for Vale’s CEO vs. Brazilian government
January 29, 2012
Top Stories of the Week:
- Vale starts to fight back against tax rulings
- Vale announced its plans to appeal to the governments intent to charge $5.6bln worth of taxes on foreign earnings. The clash with the government promises to be the first real test for the new CEO Murilo Ferreira.
- Mr. Ferreira took over the leadership of the company from Roger Agnelli, who was not reelected partly based on a disagreement with the government (which is control Vale via state-controlled shareholders) over $2bln taxation.
- Sources: Vale press release; Financial Times; Bloomberg
- Rio Tinto assumes full control of Oyu Tolgoi
Trends & Implications:
- Vale estimates the impact of a review of the tax code on the company’s earnings to be approx. 4-5% of earnings. Taxation regimes around the world for specifically iron ore and copper mining are reviewed to make the countries benefit more from ‘extreme’ profits, which could be seen as a temporary phenomenon. However, the key issue in Vale is facing now is a debate about double taxation; paying taxes over profits after taxes realized in countries where the company is operating.
- Rio Tinto’s control over Ivanhoe will help the company to put in place its management structure and have the project managed by some of its top project developers. Gaining full control of the project in this stage will help Rio Tinto to build the project according to the company’s standards, preventing costly and above all time-consuming future transitions in the operating structure. The global standards that enable effective project management more and more set the world’s largest miners apart from the ‘small’ mining firms with only a few operating assets. Very much like GE has become known as a great ‘project management company’, the world’s largest miners are more and more developing into ‘mine development’ companies in which development speed is the key success factor and navigating politics in developing countries is a key skill.
©2012 | Wilfred Visser | thebusinessofmining.com