Brazil, elections, miners and royalties
Thank you for the feedback last week concerning the possible rise of extra royalty payments on mining operations in LatAm, the theme following on from the recent Australian 40% windfall tax proposals. Further to this I was kindly sent an article (5) that neatly sums up the state of affairs in Brazil as that country moves towards its Presidential elections at the end of this year. The article states that all three of the current Presidential frontrunners, Dilma Rousseff (PT), José Serra (PSDB) and Marina Silva (Green Party) are in favour of changing extra royalties to mining companies.
The issue is likely to start making louder headlines amongst the mining community in the next two or three weeks, as the ruling PT candidate Rousseff is due to define her policy towards mining royalties (and thus remove herself from the current backroom lobbying being conducted by mining companies) via a PT party committee that will sit in Brasilia, come to a agreement and then send the agreed text to Rousseff as the official party line (to which she is very likely to stick). The text is not likely to vary much from a proposal sent to congress by the PT party last year that failed in passage. That text envisaged changes in the current system and would charge a royalty perhaps as high as 5%. As for the other candidates, it seems that main opponent Serra is waiting for the PT policy so that he can take a different position, which is likely to be a differing rate of new royalty rather than none at all.
The bottom line is that the junior mining investor is advised to take into account a higher rate of royalties in future calculations on Brazil-exposed miners. They also might want to take into account a possible rude awakening to the issue if and when it begins to make English language headlines.