High Court dismisses challenge to Minerals Rent Resource Tax

THE High Court of Australia has unanimously dismissed a constitutional challenge to its Minerals Rent Resource Tax from a Western Australia mining giant.

The impact of the result may be negligible with the Coalition already vowing to scrap the MRRT if it wins power on September 7.

Iron ore giant Fortescue Metals Group launched the challenge against the Federal Government on June22 last year - less than a fortnight before it was imposed -- claiming it was in breach of the Australian constitution.

When Fortescue chief executive Nev Power announced the fight to the ASX, he said the legal action would target how the tax discriminates between the states, giving one preference over another.

The High Court unanimously found against the company's claim.

In its decision published at 10.15am, the court found, "the treatment of state mining royalties by the MRRT… did not discriminate between the states … and did not give preference to one state over another."

The challenge was backed by the Queensland and Western Australian governments although the latter made submissions instead of formally joining the fight.

At the time, Queensland Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie estimated the cost to the state could top $300,000.

The Queensland Government and Fortescue Metals have been sought for comment.