Australian mining magnate Clive Palmer was disappointed Monday night when the Supreme Court of Western Australia rejected his multi-million dollar funding demand from Hong Kong based conglomerate CITIC Pacific. Palmer had appealed for a considerable AUD$48 million from the Chinese firm for the purpose of keeping his allegedly struggling nickel business afloat.
The development is merely the latest in a lengthy court battle between Palmer’s mining farm Mineralogy and CITIC, who are engaged in disputes over royalties with regard to the Sino Iron project situated in Western Australia’s Pilbara area. Last year Palmer was driven to rant about it on national television — only to later amend his remarks, of course — and it would seem his vexation at the hands of Chinese investors will continue apace.
In court, Palmer justified his bid on the grounds that his nickel refinery Queensland Nickel will otherwise “suffer irreparable harm” and that the money is required to “avoid closure,” as the global commodities rout has pushed nickel prices down by more than 40%.
Queensland Nickel’s director Clive Mensick, who also happens to be Palmer’s nephew, contended that “previous governments have provided support at times of low nickel.”
Yet, Justice Paul Tottle believed Clives’ assertions to be exaggerated, and the application for money “highly unusual.”
Meanwhile, CITIC’s Australian spokesman Rob Newton told reporters that millions of dollars had already been paid to Mineralogy, taking the time also to comment on Palmer’s various side projects:
It’s our view that how Mr Palmer chooses to spend this money and how he chooses to manage his other ventures — whether it’s golf courses, nickel mines, soccer teams, the Titanic 2 or robotic dinosaurs — is a matter for him.
Should his mining business go under, Palmer has plenty more reliable investments, including but not limited to said farm of robotic dinosaurs — apparently one of the the more successful of his collaborations with China.
By Pinky Latt