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Perilya hits back at "ill-informed" claims

Friday, 11th March, 2011

By John Casey

Broken Hill miner Perilya will be increasing its rates payments to City Council and is looking forward to investing locally some of the future wealth which it hopes to extract from its revitalised Broken Hill operations.

And comments from City Council by-election candidate Larry Angell, suggesting Perilya was not a good corporate citizen in Broken Hill, were "ill-informed" according to Perilya's BH General Manager, Mr Andrew Lord.

"The amount of rates we pay will rise when we start working the Potosi site because the amount of mining royalties we pay influences how our rates are measured," Mr Lord told the BDT.

"It is incumbent on Perilya to discuss the movement of rates if and when necessary and we welcome that," he added.

Those sentiments were echoed by BH Mayor Wincen Cuy in yesterday's BDT where he dismissed criticism of Perilya as a "throw away line" and said that a rate review was already planned for next month.

Mr Lord, who took charge of Perilya's BH operations in 2008, also pointed out that the company's reported $74.2 million profit for the 12 months to December 31 needed to be kept in context.

"The balance sheet profit result included more than $47 million in income tax benefit and some $3.4 million in foreign exchange gain, so the company's annual profit on revenue from operations is around $23 million," Mr Lord explained.

"Don't get me wrong, that is still a very good result and I am in no way trying to play it down because we are very proud of what our Broken Hill workers have achieved.

"I am just pointing out that some of the figures being bandied about don't paint the entire picture," he continued.

Mr Lord said that other criticisms of the company, such as profits being diverted away from the city, were not accurate.

"The annual financial report clearly shows how much money was paid in dividends and that amount is zero," Mr Lord said.

"And the balance sheet doesn't reflect monies being put back into the business.

"We have re-invested large amounts of money back into the Broken Hill operations," he added.

The company has also shown tremendous goodwill to the local community by its upkeep of assets such as Zinc Oval and Zinc Lakes, according to Mr Lord.

"We have re-invested some $30 million in capital works in our Broken Hill operations in the past 12 months alone.

"Exploration is also a costly exercise with up to $1 million spent on a single drill hole," Mr Lord said.

Perilya pays around $3 million in rates annually, with the mining companies attributing around 27 per cent of City Council's incoming rates revenue.

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