Students from Years 3 and 4 went on an excursion to Jellinbah Mine as part of a geography investigation.
Students from Years 3 and 4 went on an excursion to Jellinbah Mine as part of a geography investigation. Contributed

Qld coal mine owner pays second highest amount of tax

MALAYSIAN-born, Queensland-based billionaire Sam Chong surged up the Australian Tax Office's list of corporate taxpayers over 2016-17.

Mr Chong, who moved to Australia in 1973 to study engineering, is a founder and major shareholder in the Jellinbah Group that operates two sites near Blackwater and Bluff as well as the Lake Vermont Mine in Dysart, 240km northwest of Rockhampton.

Producing more than five million tonnes of pulverised coal injection (PCI) product annually, the privately held company paid $197.6 million in tax, up from $42.5million in 2015-16. It is co-owned by subsidiaries of Japanese group Marubeni and global mining giant Anglo-American.

The Australian revealed in November that Jellinbah's 2018 profits rose to $629m after paying $275m in tax.

Jellinbah has cashed in on the falling Australian dollar and on Chinese steel manufacturers' demand for Australian coking coal.

Among privately held Australian-owned companies, Mr Chong's tax bill was second only to Gina Rinehart of Hancock Prospecting.

The mine, located near the townships of Blackwater and Bluff, produces 5 million tonnes of PCI product annually.

Little known Queensland billionaire Sam Chong has surged up the list of Australian corporate taxpayers, beaten only by mining magnate Gina Rinehart, as both enjoyed booming profits thanks to demand for coal and iron ore.

Hancock Prospecting which has interests in iron ore, coal, beef, dairy as well as continuing mineral exploration paid $407.9 million in tax in the 2016-17 financial year.

In the 2018 year its profits lifted substantially, up 28 per cent to $1.37 billion, and the billionaire claimed her company paid $860m in federal and state taxes for the year.

Queensland Coal Investments Pty Ltd is one of its wholly owned subsidiaries.

It was revealed in July that Ms Rinehart is also the largest financial donor to one of Australia's most powerful pressure group think tanks, the Institute of Public Affairs.

Hancock's tax figure was the 16th biggest in the country, behind only listed companies such as big banks and giant miners BHP and Fortescue Metals Group, though two other companies connected to Mrs Rinehart and her family - Consolidated Distributions Pty Ltd and 150 Investments Pty Ltd - were among the top 10 biggest companies by revenue to pay no tax.

FMG, headed by billionaire chairman Andrew Forrest, was one of the biggest taxpayers for listed companies, though a company connected to his wife Nicole, Expedition Investments Pty Ltd, paid no tax despite revenue of about $214 million. Similarly, the Australian operations of software giant Atlassian, founded by billionaires Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar, paid no tax from revenue of $773 million.

Mr Chong's Jellinbah Group was second only among the private rich listers with $197.6m tax paid, up from $42.5m in 2015-16. He shares the ownership of Jellinbah, which owns majority stakes in the Jellinbah Mine in Queensland's Bowen Basin and the Lake Vermont Mine 240km northwest of Rockhampton, with subsidiaries of Japanese group Marubeni and global mining giant Anglo-American.

Jellinbah has cashed in on record demand for Australian coking coal from Chinese steel manufacturers and the falling Australian dollar.

The Australian revealed in November that Jellinbah's 2018 financial year profits were even more impressive, rising to $629m after paying tax of $275m.

Hancock's 2018 also included a substantial lift in profits, up 28 per cent to $1.37 billion, and the billionaire claimed her company paid $860m in federal and state taxes for the year.

Mrs Rinehart and Mr Chong are joined on the biggest taxpayers list for 2016-17 by a string of rich-list billionaires, including Sydney apartments king Harry Triguboff.

His Meriton Properties paid $197.6m in tax, about $54m more than the $143.4m paid by ALH Group, the pubs and poker machines giant jointly owned by billionaire Bruce Mathieson and Woolworths.

Perron Investments, the large property and car dealership company established by the late Perth billionaire Stan Perron, who died in late November aged 96, was another big payer. It shelled out $79.9m in taxes.

Next on the list of billionaires are mining heiresses Alexandra Burt and Leonie Baldock, whose Wright Prospecting paid $60.2m in taxes. Wright Prospecting was started by their late father Michael Wright, the former business partner of Mrs Rinehart's father Lang Hancock.

Barob Pty Ltd, the private company of Sydney property developer Bob Ell, paid $44m tax, slightly more than Lindsay Fox's trucking and logistics giant Linfox, which shelled out $42.4m.

Canberra business identity Terry Snow paid $33.2m tax via his Capital Property Finance group, the ultimate owner of Canberra Airport.

Tenth among the rich list billion taxpayers was Manny Stul and his Moose Toys global business. It paid $30.2m tax in 2016-17, according to the ATO.