"We are paying our way" ... Sam Walsh. Photo: Ross Swanborough
THE resources giant Rio Tinto paid no mining tax last year, but the new Australian chief executive, Sam Walsh, said the company was ''paying our way''.
Mr Walsh, appointed after a series of writedowns led to the dismissal of his predecessor Tom Albanese, was speaking at a London briefing on Rio Tinto's full-year profit results, including a net loss of $US3 billion, the first in its history.
Mr Walsh said the minerals resource rent tax was intended to tax super profits, not normal profits, and was ''operating as it was physically designed'' given commodity prices this year were lower than last year, and company profits had dropped accordingly.
Mr Walsh confirmed Rio Tinto had paid no mining tax and said there was ''a feeling out there we're not paying our way in relation to tax''.
It was the highest tax payer in Australia last year, he said, paying about $7 billion.
''People need to understand Rio Tinto is one of the highest tax payers in Australia,'' he said. ''We are paying our way.
''Businesses like ours are investing billions, we're taking the risk of the commodity cycle, we need a return on these investments.''