I’m glad Glasenberg had the ticker to tell it as he sees it, unlike the vast majority of chicken shit top 200 business CEO’s who dare not criticise Labor.
The Gillard government has made Australia a riskier and less attractive place for mining investment, according to Ivan Glasenberg, the head of the commodities giant Glencore.
Mr Glasenberg, the second-wealthiest Australian behind Gina Rinehart with a fortune valued at more than $6 billion, said Labor's imposition of a carbon tax and a mineral resources tax had undermined the country's traditional advantages over riskier investment destinations in the Third World.
Mr Glasenberg told a mining industry dinner in London that Australia was no longer seen as such a stable investment environment, and that major international mining companies had the further disadvantage of not enjoying the same leverage in Australia that they held when dealing with poorer countries.
“At least in the Congo they need you, they want you there and if they start changing the rules on you, you may not continue investing. In Australia your $3 billion is not that big,” he said.
In a speech which vigorously defended large pay packages for senior executives, Mr Glasenberg insisted that the Gillard government's recent imposts on the mining industry had made it easier for Glencore to defend to potential shareholders its investments in risker countries.
He said that during a roadshow to brief investors about the public float of Glencore, many nervous investors had asked about the Switzerland-based company's investments in Third World countries that have uncertain policies on tax and nationalisation of assets.
“One of the biggest questions on the roadshow was you are in difficult, risky countries, you have assets in the Congo in Africa, you have got assets in Zambia (and) Colombia (and) Kazakhstan, these are risky countries, we are not that happy investing in you, we don't know what these countries will do.
“So I have got to say Mrs (sic) Gillard made our life easy, because we could say `Look, Australia just wanted to nationalise 30 per cent of their mines (with) a mineral resources tax!'
“If it wasn't fought very diligently by the mining companies getting together and fighting it Australia was going to impose a mineral resources tax on their mines, so it only shows every country today has its risk.
“So Australia does have its risk, yes. We saw the carbon tax, we saw the mineral resource tax. It is a First World country but is doing things that are making people cautious of investing, so Australia is becoming another country where you have got to make sure that the rules aren't going to change on you.
“When we look to expand operations we do our valuations, we put a certain tax on it and a certain royalty on the valuation and then you invest lots of capital in those countries and you are just never sure but you hope the rules don't change on you.
“Australia did send a signal to the world we may just change the rules and it is like other countries.
“In Africa, they need you more. Take in the Congo - we are a major player in the Congo, we have a very big copper mine, we put over $3 billion in the Congo and in the Congo $3 billion is a lot more important to the country than $3 billion in Australia.”
I bet Glasenberg just got his name put on Wayne Swan’s Billionaire hit lit.