Tag: Mining

Canada vs Cameco Corp., February 2021, Supreme Court, Case No 39368.

Canada vs Cameco Corp., February 2021, Supreme Court, Case No 39368.

Cameco, together with its subsidiaries, is a large uranium producer and supplier of the services that convert one form of uranium into another form. Cameco had uranium mines in Saskatchewan and uranium refining and processing (conversion) facilities in Ontario. Cameco also had subsidiaries in the United States that owned uranium mines in the United States. The Canadian Revenue Agency found that transactions between Cameco Corp and the Swiss subsidiary constituted a sham arrangement resulting in improper profit shifting. Hence, a tax assessment was issued for FY 2003, 2005, and 2006. Cameco disagreed with the Agency and brought the case to the Canadian Tax Court. In 2018 the Tax Court ruled in favor of Cameco and dismissed the assessment. This decision was appealed by the tax authorities to the Federal Court of Appeal. The Federal Court of Appeal in 2020 dismissed the appeal and also ruled in favor of Cameco A application for leave to appeal from the judgment of the ... Continue to full case

Mining Company Oyu Tolgoi LLC receives a second Tax Assessment from the Mongolian Tax Authority

The Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold mine is a joint venture between Turquoise Hill Resources (which is 50.8 per cent owned by Rio Tinto), and the Mongolian Government. The Mongolian government has not been satisfied by the result of the joint venture and has concerns that increasing development costs of the Oyu Tolgoi project has eroded the economic benefits it anticipated receiving. “It is calculated that Mongolia will not receive dividend payments until 2051 and will incur debts of US$22 billion,” said Mongolia’s deputy chief cabinet secretary, Solongoo Bayarsaikhan. “In addition, Oyu Tolgoi is estimated to pay profit taxes or corporate income taxes only in four years until 2051.” The Mongolian authorities has put forward proposals to coordinate and lower management services received from Rio Tinto and increase Mongolia’s benefits by reducing shareholder loan interest rates. On December 23, 2020 the Mongolian Tax Authority issued a press release concerning the results of a completed transfer pricing audit of Oyu Tologi LLC. “The ... Continue to full case
Australia vs Glencore, November 2020, Full Federal Court of Australia, Case No FCAFC 187

Australia vs Glencore, November 2020, Full Federal Court of Australia, Case No FCAFC 187

Glencore Australia (CMPL) sold copper concentrate produced in Australia to its Swiss parent, Glencore International AG (GIAG). The tax administration found, that the price paid by Glencore International AG to Glencore Australia for the copper concentrate in the relevant years according to a price sharing agreement was less than the price that might reasonably be expected to have been paid in an arm’s length dealing between independent parties. ‘The amended assessments included in the taxpayer’s assessable income additional amounts of $49,156,382 (2007), $83,228,784 (2008) and $108,675,756 (2009) referable to the consideration which the Commissioner considered would constitute an arm’s length payment for the copper concentrate sold to Glencore International AG in each of the relevant years. The Federal Court of Australia found in favor of Glencore. “Accordingly I find that the taxpayer has established that the prices that CMPL was paid by GIAG for the copper concentrate it supplied to GIAG under the February 2007 Agreement were within an arm’s ... Continue to full case
Mexico vs Majestic Silver Corp, September 2020, Federal Administrative Court, Not published

Mexico vs Majestic Silver Corp, September 2020, Federal Administrative Court, Not published

On 23 September 2020, the Federal Administrative Court in Mexico issued a not yet published decision in a dispute between the Mexican tax authorities (SAT) and Canadian mining group First Majestic Silver Corp’s Mexican subsidiary, Primero Empresa Minera. The court case was filed back in 2015 by the tax authorities, to cancel an Advance Pricing Agreement (APA) issued to Primero Empresa Minera back in 2012. According to the APA, a methodology had been determined allowing the Mexican mining company to sell silver at 4.04 dollars per ounce to a group company based in Barbados (Silver Trading Barbados Ltd) via Luxembourg, when the average market price of silver was above 30 dollars. The APA was applied by Primero Empresa Minera for FY 2010 – 2014. The Federal Court decided in favor of the tax authorities that the APA was invalid and therefore nullified. After receiving the decision from the Federal Court, First Majestic on 25 September 2020 issued a press release ... Continue to full case
Tanzania vs African Barrick Gold PLC, August 2020, Court of Appeal, Case No. 144 of 2018, [2020] TZCA 1754

Tanzania vs African Barrick Gold PLC, August 2020, Court of Appeal, Case No. 144 of 2018, [2020] TZCA 1754

AFRICAN BARRICK GOLD PLC (now Acacia Mining Plc), the largest mining company operating in Tanzania, was issued a tax bill for unpaid taxes, interest and penalties for alleged under-declared export revenues. As a tax resident in Tanzania, AFRICAN BARRICK GOLD was asked to remit withholding taxes on dividend payments amounting to USD 81,843,127 which the company allegedly made for the years 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 (this sum was subsequently reduced to USD 41,250,426). AFRICAN BARRICK GOLD was also required to remit withholding taxes on payments which the mining entities in Tanzania had paid to the parent, together with payments which was made to other non-resident persons (its shareholders) for the service rendered between 2010 up to September 2013. AFRICAN BARRICK GOLD argued that, being a holding company incorporated in the United Kingdom, it was neither a resident company in Tanzania, nor did it conduct any business in Tanzania to attract the income tax demanded according to the tax assessment ... Continue to full case
Tanzania vs JSC ATOMREDMETZOLOTO (ARMZ), June 2020, Court of Appeal, Appeals No 78-79-2018

Tanzania vs JSC ATOMREDMETZOLOTO (ARMZ), June 2020, Court of Appeal, Appeals No 78-79-2018

JSC Atomredmetzolo (ARMZ) is a chartered open Joint Stock Company incorporated in the Russian Federation dealing in uranium mining industry. Late 2010, the Company purchased from the Australia Stock Exchange all shares in Mantra Resources Limited (Mantra Resources) a company incorporated in Australia and owner of Mkuju River Uranium project located Tanzania. Following the acquisition of all the issued shares in Mantra Australia, JSC Atomredmetzolo became a sole registered and beneficiary owner of shares in Mantra Australia making Mantra Australia a wholly owned subsidiary of JSC Atomredmetzolo. Hence Mantra Tanzania and Mkuju River Uranium Project were placed under the control of JSC Atomredmetzolo who had a majority 51.4% shareholding in a Canadian Uranium exploration and mining company named Uranium One Inc. Thus, JSC Atomredmetzolo opted to invest in the Mkuju River Uranium project through Uranium One based in Canada. Subsequently, JSC Atomredmetzolo entered into a put/call option agreement with Uranium One, pursuant to which JSC Atomredmetzolo sold and transferred the ... Continue to full case
Canada vs Cameco Corp., June 2020, Federal Court of Appeal, Case No 2020 FCA 112.

Canada vs Cameco Corp., June 2020, Federal Court of Appeal, Case No 2020 FCA 112.

Cameco, together with its subsidiaries, is a large uranium producer and supplier of the services that convert one form of uranium into another form. Cameco had uranium mines in Saskatchewan and uranium refining and processing (conversion) facilities in Ontario. Cameco also had subsidiaries in the United States that owned uranium mines in the United States. In 1993, the United States and Russian governments executed an agreement that provided the means by which Russia could sell uranium formerly used in its nuclear arsenal. The net result of this agreement was that a certain quantity of uranium would be offered for sale in the market. Cameco initially attempted to secure this source of uranium on its own but later took the lead in negotiating an agreement for the purchase of this uranium by a consortium of companies. When the final agreement was signed in 1999, Cameco designated its Luxembourg subsidiary, Cameco Europe S.A. (CESA), to be the signatory to this agreement. The ... Continue to full case
Zambia vs Mopani Copper Mines Plc., May 2020, Supreme Court of Zambia, Case No 2017/24

Zambia vs Mopani Copper Mines Plc., May 2020, Supreme Court of Zambia, Case No 2017/24

Following an audit of Mopani Copper Mines Plc. the Zambian Revenue Authority (ZRA) found that the price of copper sold to related party Glencore International AG had been significantly lower than the price of copper sold to third parties. A tax assessment was issued where the ZRA concluded that the internal pricing had not been determined in accordance with the arm’s length principle, and further that one of the main purposes for the mis-pricing had been to reduce tax liabilities. Mopani Copper Mines Plc. first appealed the decision to Zambia’s Tax Appeal Tribunal, and after a decision was handed down by the Tribunal in favor of the ZRA, a new appeal was filed with the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court dismissed Mopani’s appeal and ruled in favor of the ZRA. App-024-2017-Mopani-Copper-Mines-Plc-Vs-Zambia-Revenue-Authority-20th-May-2020-Mambilima-Cj-Malila-And-Mutuna-JJS ... Continue to full case

Mining Group Rio Tinto in new $86 million Dispute with ATO over pricing of Aluminium

In March 2020 the Australian Taxation Office issued an tax assessment regarding transfer pricing to Rio Tinto’s aluminium division according to which additional taxes in an amount of $86.1 million must be paid for fiscal years 2010 – 2016. According to the assessment Rio’s Australian subsidiaries did not charge an arm’s length price for the aluminium they sold to Rio’s Singapore marketing hub. This new aluminum case is separate to Rio’s long-running $447 million dispute with the ATO over the transfer pricing of Australian iron ore. Rio intents to object to the ATO’s aluminium claim and states that the pricing of iron ore and aluminium has been determined in accordance with the OECD guidelines and Australian and Singapore domestic tax laws ... Continue to full case
Australia vs Glencore, September 2019, Federal Court of Australia, Case No FCA 1432

Australia vs Glencore, September 2019, Federal Court of Australia, Case No FCA 1432

Glencore Australia (CMPL) sold copper concentrate produced in Australia to its Swiss parent, Glencore International AG (GIAG). The tax administration found, that the price paid by Glencore International AG to Glencore Australia for the copper concentrate in the relevant years according to a price sharing agreement was less than the price that might reasonably be expected to have been paid in an arm’s length dealing between independent parties. ‘The amended assessments included in the taxpayer’s assessable income additional amounts of $49,156,382 (2007), $83,228,784 (2008) and $108,675,756 (2009) referrable to the consideration which the Commissioner considered would constitute an arm’s length payment for the copper concentrate sold to Glencore International AG in each of the relevant years. The Federal Court of Australia found in favor of Glencore. “Accordingly I find that the taxpayer has established that the prices that CMPL was paid by GIAG for the copper concentrate it supplied to GIAG under the February 2007 Agreement were within an arm’s ... Continue to full case
The Australian Taxation Office and Mining Giant BHP have settled yet another Transfer Pricing Dispute

The Australian Taxation Office and Mining Giant BHP have settled yet another Transfer Pricing Dispute

BHP Group has agreed to pay the state of Western Australia A$250 million to end a dispute over royalties paid on iron ore shipments sold through its Singapore marketing hub. The State government found in January that the world’s biggest miner had underpaid royalties on iron ore shipments sold via Singapore stretching back over more than a decade. BHP reached a deal to pay A$529 million in additional taxes to the Australian government late last year to settle a long-running tax dispute over the miner’s Singapore hub on its income from 2003-2018 ... Continue to full case
Glencore in $680 million Transfer Pricing Dispute with HMRC

Glencore in $680 million Transfer Pricing Dispute with HMRC

In a publication of preliminary results for 2018 mining giant Glencore reports a major tax assessment issued by HMRC in December 2018. “UK Tax Audit In December 2018, HMRC issued formal transfer pricing, permanent establishment and diverted profits tax assessments for the 2008 – 2017 tax years, amounting to $680 million. The Group intends to appeal and vigorously contest these assessments, following, over the years, various legal opinions received and detailed analysis conducted, supporting its positions and policies applied, and therefore the Group has not provided for the amount assessed. Management does not anticipate a significant risk of material changes in estimates in this matter in the next financial year.“ ... Continue to full case
Australia vs BHP Billiton, January 2019, Federal Court of Australia, Case No [2019] FCAFC 4

Australia vs BHP Billiton, January 2019, Federal Court of Australia, Case No [2019] FCAFC 4

Mining group BHP Billiton had not in it’s Australian CfC income included income from associated British group companies from sales of Australian goods through Singapore. The tax authorities held that the British companies in BHP’s dual-listed company structure fell within a definition of “associate”, and part of the income should therfore be taxed in Australia under local CfC legislation. In December 2017 BHP won the case in an administrative court but this decision was appealed to the Federal Court by the authorities. The Federal Court found in favor of the tax authority. The court found that both BHP’s Australian and British arms are associates, and therefore subject to tax in Australia under Australien CfC rules. BHP has now asked the High Court for leave to appeal. Australia v BHP jan 2019 FC AFC 4 ... Continue to full case
Wheaton Precious Metals Reaches Settlement on Canadian Tax Dispute Regarding Foreign Income

Wheaton Precious Metals Reaches Settlement on Canadian Tax Dispute Regarding Foreign Income

Wheaton Precious Metals Corp. has reached a settlement with the Canada Revenue Agency which provides for a final resolution of Wheaton’s tax appeal in connection with the reassessment under transfer pricing rules of the 2005 to 2010 taxation years related to income generated by the Company’s wholly-owned foreign subsidiaries, Wheaton International, outside of Canada. Wheaton is the leading company in the precious metals streaming business, essentially providing up-front financing to mining companies looking to build mines. In return, it earns the right to buy silver and gold output from those mines at a heavily discounted price, which it sells on for a profit. When Wheaton earns money from mines outside Canada, income is reported through foreign subsidiaries and Wheaton does not pay tax on it in Canada. The CRA essentially thinks this is tax avoidance, and earnings should be taxed according to transfer pricing rules in Canada’s Income Tax Act. After the CRA went through Silver Wheaton’s records from 2005 ... Continue to full case
Russia vs LLC "Bulatovskiy Basalt", November 2018, Court of Appeal, Case No. A05-5548/2018

Russia vs LLC “Bulatovskiy Basalt”, November 2018, Court of Appeal, Case No. A05-5548/2018

Bulatovskiy Basalt LLC extracted and sold basalt rubble. The rubble was sold to three related intermediaries, whom in turn, resold the rubble to the final buyers. The resale price was on average double the transfer price. The tax authorities considered that the sole purpose of incorporating intermediaries into the sales structure was to obtain an unreasonable tax benefit in the form of underestimation of the profits from the sale of rubble and the tax base. According to the tax authorities, Bulatovskiy Basalt LLC could instead have enter into contracts with the final buyers directly. The tax authorities issued an assessment of income based on the resale of the rubble to the final Consumers. Bulatovskiy Basalt LLC brought the case to Court. The courts of the first and second instance ruled in favor of Bulatovskiy Basalt LLC. The courts took into account the existence of reasonable reasons for the involvement of intermediaries, including the presence of real functions. The first instance ... Continue to full case
The Australian Taxation Office and Mining Giant BHP have settled an ongoing Transfer Pricing Dispute

The Australian Taxation Office and Mining Giant BHP have settled an ongoing Transfer Pricing Dispute

The Australian Taxation Office has agreed on a settlement with BHP Mining Group to resolve a transfer pricing dispute relating to transfer pricing treatment of commodities sold to a Singapore marketing hub. BHP had originally been assessed with over AUD 1 billion in additional taxes. According to the settlement BHP will pay additional tax of AUD 529 million to resolve the dispute, covering the years 2003–18. According to the settlement BHP Group will also increase its ownership of BHP Billiton Marketing AG, the company conducting BHP’s Singapore marketing business, from 58 percent to 100 percent. The change in ownership will result in all profits made in Singapore in relation to the Australian assets owned by BHP Group being fully subject to Australian tax. BHP’s Singapore marketing arrangements will continue to be located in Singapore and will also be within the ‘low risk’ segment for offshore marketing hubs ... Continue to full case
Transfer Pricing in the Mining Industry

Transfer Pricing in the Mining Industry

Like other sectors of the economy, there are base erosion and profit shifting risks in the mining sector. Based on the ongoing work on BEPS, the IGF (Intergovernmental Forum on Mining) and OECD has released guidance for source countries on transfer pricing in the mining sector. The transfer pricing and tax avoidance issues identified in the sector are: 1. Excessive Interest Deductions Companies may use related-party debt to shift profit offshore via excessive interest payments to related entities. “Debt shifting” is not unique to mining, but it is particularly significant for mining projects that require high levels of capital investment not directly obtainable from third parties, making substantial related-party borrowing a frequent practice. 2. Abusive Transfer Pricing Transfer pricing occurs when one company sells a good or service to another related company. Because these transactions are internal, they are not subject to market pricing and can be used by multinationals to shift profits to low-tax jurisdictions. Related-party transactions in mining ... Continue to full case
Africa - Mining and Transfer Pricing

Africa – Mining and Transfer Pricing

Most Sub Saharan African jurisdictions see the area of mineral transfers/sales as the main transfer pricing risk, but only few have systems in place to check if prices applied to minerals transferred to related parties comply with the arm’s length principle. Studies highlights a strong need for capacity strengthening in the area of transfer pricing throughout the African continent and for enhancing the knowledge of mining industry within tax authorities. South Africa has, for many years, been the leader in transfer pricing audits among the African countries. But emerging countries such as Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, are now making a concerted effort to develop transfer pricing capability. In Tanzania, for example, the Acasia Mining Plc. was recently  issued a USD 190 billion tax bill. The assessment demonstrates a strong political will in Africa to address transfer pricing non-compliance. A paper commissioned by the World Bank highlights transfer pricing issues within the African Mining industry. Not surprisingly, it seems that most of the transfer pricing problems relates ... Continue to full case

Canada vs Cameco, November 2017, Pending case – C$2.2bn in taxes

Several mining companies are beeing audited by the Canadian Revenue Agency for aggressive tax planning and tax evasion schemes. Among the high-profile companies that have filed pleadings with the Canadian Tax Court are Cameco, Silver Wheaton, Burlington Resources, Conoco Funding Company and Suncor Energy. The CRA says, the companies inappropriately ran international transactions through subsidiary companies in low-tax foreign jurisdictions. In the Cameco case the Revenue Agency has audited years 2003 to 2015 and challenged Cameco Canada’s arrangements with a Swiss subsidiary. Cameco sells uranium to its marketing subsidiary in Switzerland, which re-sells it to buyers, incurring less tax than the company would through its Canadian office. The CRA position is that Cameco Canada was in fact carrying the uranium business – not Swiss Cameco subsidiary. The total tax bill for the 13 years: $2.1-billion, plus interest and penalties. Three tax years are currently being tried in the tax court, where a final decision is expected in late 2018 or ... Continue to full case

South Africa vs. Kumba Iron Ore, 2017, Settlement 2.5bn

A transfer pricing dispute between South African Revenue Service and Sishen Iron Ore, a subsidiary of Kumba Iron Ore, has now been resolved in a settlement of ZAR 2.5bn. The case concerned disallowance of sales commissions paid to offshore sales and marketing subsidiaries in Amsterdam, Luxembourg and Hong Kong. Since 2012, Kumba Iron Ore’s international marketing has been integrated with the larger Anglo American group’s Singapore-based marketing hub. The settlement follows a similar investigations into the transfer pricing activities of Evraz Highveld Steel, which resulted in a R685 million tax claim against the now-bankrupt company related to apparent tax evasion using an Austrian shell company between 2007 and 2009 ... Continue to full case