Rio Tinto says it paid $38M in royalties to N.W.T., but gov’t can’t confirm – by Walter Strong (CBC News North – November 2, 2017)

Rio Tinto is disputing a claim in a recent mining report that it paid no royalties in the N.W.T.

If the government of the Northwest Territories wanted to attract attention to its mining policy review in advance of the territory’s new Mineral Resources Act, it did a good job.

A report, posted to a territorial government website in October, paints the disturbing picture of a royalty and taxation regime that lets mining companies get away with paying little in mining royalties and taxes, at least compared to some other jurisdictions in the world.

Rio Tinto, a 60 per cent owner of the Diavik diamond mine was singled out in the report for not — according to the report — paying any royalties for diamond production at the mine in 2015. The company has since disputed that claim.

“Rio Tinto paid just over $38 million in royalties to the Government of the Northwest Territories in 2015 from the Diavik Diamond Mine,” a company spokesperson stated in an email to the CBC.

The confusion, the spokesperson said, may have resulted from how Rio Tinto reports royalties as part of taxation instead of as a separate line item, all in accordance with standard international accounting practices.

Gov’t mum on specific royalties

Pamela Strand, assistant deputy minister for minerals and petroleum resources, said the government of the Northwest Territories cannot help clear up the matter of how much in royalties were paid on behalf of the Diavik diamond mine.

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