Colombia Disputes BHP’s Use of Jewelry to Cut Tax Bill

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BHP Billiton Ltd. is facing more legal issues. According to Bloomberg, “the world’s most valuable miner, underpaid royalties in Colombia by listing items such as jewelry and entertainment among production costs, according to the preliminary findings of a government audit.”

“By claiming expenses including a gold watch strap, English classes, concerts and a production of ‘The Vagina Monologues,’ BHP’s Cerro Matoso ferronickel mine underpaid 62 billion pesos ($33 million) in taxes between 1998 and 2003 when adjusted to today’s prices, the comptroller’s office said in an e-mail that contained a list of the disputed expenses.”

“The agency, known as Contraloria General de la Republica, put a lien on Cerro Matoso assets for that amount by August and plans to make a final decision in June. The audit of the mine’s previous operating contracts comes as BHP seeks to expand the world’s second biggest ferronickel mine and faces community protests over alleged pollution.”

The week’s biggest mover on the weekly Stainless MMI® was the cash price of primary Indian nickel, which saw a 1.1 percent decline. This comes on the heels of a 0.2 percent increase the week before. The nickel spot price rose 1.0 percent on the LME to $13,755 per metric ton after falling 1.1 percent during the previous week. The nickel 3-month price rose 0.8 percent on the LME to $13,800 per metric ton after falling 1.2 percent during the previous week.

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Chinese stainless steel prices were flat for the week. Chinese ferro-chrome remained unchanged for the week. Chinese ferro-moly remained essentially flat from the previous week.

This past week, the price of Chinese primary nickel kept quiet. The week finished with no movement for Chinese 304 stainless steel scrap. The price of Chinese 316 stainless steel scrap did not change since the previous week. Prices for Chinese 304 stainless coil remained constant. Chinese 316 stainless coil prices held steady from the previous week.

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Following a steady week, prices for Korean 430 stainless steel coil closed flat. Korean 304 stainless coil traded sideways last week.

The Stainless MMI® collects and weights 14 global stainless steel and raw material price points to provide a unique view into stainless steel price trends. For more information on the Stainless MMI®, how it’s calculated or how your company can use the index, please drop us a note at: info (at) agmetalminer (dot) com.