Northern Minerals Ltd (ASX:NTU) will have its research and development (R&D) tax offset claims for FY17 and FY 18 reviewed by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) after an AusIndustry review found the claims are eligible.
The company has received formal notification from the Department of Industry Innovation and Science (AusIndustry) that it has reversed its initial non-eligible finding in relation to the claims.
Reversal of this finding means that most of NTU’s registered activities are in fact eligible for the R&D incentive.
The company has agreed to exclude from the claim some minor supporting activities that were part of the previous claims.
“Pleased but not surprised”
Managing director and CEO George Bauk said: “We are pleased but not surprised by the AusIndustry review findings.
“The company and its advisors worked diligently and submitted claims in respect to the R&D tax offset in line with the assessment criteria provided.”
AusIndustry will provide a copy of the notice to the ATO, which is bound by the findings and is expected to reconsider certain aspects of their initial finding before confirming the quantum of the final refundable R&D tax offset.
Working with ATO
NTU will seek to immediately stop payments to the ATO of amounts owing as a result of the initial finding and work closely with the ATO to confirm the final refundable R&D tax offset.
Bauk said: “We committed to initially developing Browns Range as a pilot plant operation as there were no analogues or peer projects to guide us.
“As such, we were always confident that our claims met both the spirit and technical guidelines for assessment.
“We look forward to working with the ATO to finalise this process.”
Pilot plant production
The company has achieved practical completion of the 100%-owned Browns Range Heavy Rare Earth Pilot Plant Project in northern WA with pilot plant production of heavy rare earth carbonate underway.
This pilot plant project will continue to assist NTU to evaluate the economic and technical feasibility of mining at Browns Range and will provide the opportunity to gain production experience and surety of supply for the offtake partner.
Through the development of its flagship project, NTU aims to build the operation into the first significant world producer of dysprosium outside China.
The project has several deposits and prospects containing high-value dysprosium and other HREs, hosted in xenotime mineralisation.
Dysprosium is an essential ingredient in the production of DyNdFeB (dysprosium neodymium iron boron) magnets used in clean energy and high technology solutions.