De Beers is protesting a recently added diamond-mine royalty in Ontario, saying it’s “arbitrary” and “discriminatory” and not discussed with them ahead of time.
Northern Ontario’s first diamond mine, called Victor, is being built by De Beers Canada and not due to start production in the first half of 2008. It is expected to eventually produce about 600 000 carats a year and will create an estimated 400 jobs.
The current Mining Tax Act rate is ten percent. The proposed diamond royalty would range from 5 percent to 13 percent, depending on annual production value.
When the company decided to spend $1-billion (Canadian) to build the Victor mine, a De Beers spokeswoman said, “we made that decision on the basis of the tax regime that was in place, and there were no indications that they were going to change it.”
She said that a predictable and nondiscriminatory tax regime should apply to the entire mining sector, not just diamonds.
De Beers’ objection has won the support of Ontario’s aboriginal communities, who fear the proposed tax would hurt any benefits they expect from the mine.