MiningWatch appeals to [Ontario’s] province’s auditor general to revamp mining taxation – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star – December 16, 2013)

The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

MiningWatch Canada is asking Ontario’s auditor general to conduct a review of the province’s mining tax with the goal of getting Ontarians more than 2% of the value of minerals mined in the province.

The lobby group wrote Bonnie Lysyk out of frustration, said its executive director Ramsey Hart, after waiting more than 18 months for the Liberal government to fulfil a commitment first made in its spring 2012 budget.

The Grits said the review was mentioned in both the 2012 and 2013 budgets, but when Hart called the Ministry of Finance this week to inquire about how it was progressing, he said he was disappointed with what he heard.

Not only has the review not begun, Hart said he was told. The approach for the review is still being conducted. “It’s complicated, but it’s not that complicated,” Hart said Friday.

In a letter, he appealed to Lysyk to conduct an impartial, non-partisan, independent review, saying MiningWatch is tired of waiting for the province to do it.

Lysyk is from Saskatchewan, a province that retains 7% to 8% of the value of uranium and potash mined there, said Hart.

“You may be surprised to learn that, relative to Saskatchewan, Ontario has (a) very poor system in place for recouping a fair share of the value of publicly owned minerals extracted by private mining companies,” Hart wrote Lysyk.

He said in an interview that he wrote the auditor general because she has the authority to review the province’s policies on taxation and has “access to the books.”

Quebec’s auditor general conducted a review in 2009 that found half of the operating mines were paying no taxes and the other half weren’t paying much in taxes, said Hart.

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