Glencore owns mining operations in coal, copper, zinc and other commodities in Australia.REUTERS

Commodity mining and trading giant Glencore has denied media reports that it paid zero taxes in Australia, despite reaping billions of dollars in profits from its operations in the country.

Francis de Rosa, a spokesman for Glencore in Australia, said the claims that no income tax was paid over the last three years were "preposterous."

"Glencore complies with all tax rules and regulations in Australia and in each jurisdiction where we operate," he said.

"The amount of tax our company pays is driven by the taxation legislation put in place by local, state and federal governments and is a matter of public policy.

"The measure of our economic contribution to Australia is not just about taxes or royalties (which we pay on every tonne of coal we sell)."

"Our contribution is measured over decades with investments that serve communities for a generation through job creation and support for local businesses."

De Rosa said the company paid more than $8bn in royalties and taxes in Australia over the last seven years.

The Sydney Morning Herald earlier reported that Glencore's coal division had paid no taxes in Australia in the past three years despite generating income totalling A$15bn ($14.1bn, £8.3bn, €10.4bn).

The newspaper said the company "radically reduced its tax exposure by taking large, unnecessarily expensive loans from its associates overseas". The company took loans totalling A$3.4bn at interest rates up to 9%, almost double the regular bank rates.

Glencore claimed tax breaks on these inflated interest payments, while it provided interest-free loans to other related parties.

In addition, Glencore significantly increased its coal sales to related companies to benefit from the so-called transfer pricing - also known as profit-shifting.

The tax-dodging tactics were identified in an independent analysis of the company's accounts for Fairfax Media by an expert in multinational financing.

Glencore received significant mining operations in coal, copper, zinc and other commodities after it acquired fellow Swiss-based resources company Xstrata in a $36bn deal in 2013.