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Mining magnate wins Queensland Nickel court case

Queensland Nickel worker
Queensland Nickel worker

A resources tycoon does not have to pay $124 million to creditors of a failed metal operation in North Queensland, a court ruled.

The Supreme Court of Queensland has dismissed a liquidator’s claim for Queensland Nickel (QN) owner Clive Palmer to further compensate those affected by the collapse of the Yabulu Nickel Refinery, 25km north of Townsville.

Justice Debra Mullins rejected claims from QN liquidator John Park and funder Vannin Capital Operations that Palmer, and his company Mineralogy, should pay further compensation to more than 780 people who lost their jobs when the operation was indefinitely suspended in 2016.

‘Invalid’ claim

Mullins also found $135M of share transactions between QN and Palmer’s China First and Waratah Coal companies were invalid since the deals were payments between QN’s joint venture companies and Mineralogy, not QN itself.

“It follows the plaintiffs’ claims against Mineralogy whether claimed as a debt, moneys lent or moneys paid must be dismissed,” the justice said according to the Australian Associated Press.

Compensation paid

The magnate has already established a $7 million trust account fund to compensate for any unpaid worker entitlements. QMEB understands at least 50 claims have already been processed according to figures provided by Alexander Law principal Sam Iskander in April 2019.

“It is clear that all payments from QN have been paid properly for the purpose of that business,” Palmer said on Facebook. “It is a shining example that truth and justice in the final analysis will prevail over lies and innuendo via trial by media.”

$50M counter lawsuit

The magnate estimates the two-year legal battle cost millions in liquidation fees and funding expenses, and now plans to sue Park and Vannin Capital to cover the $50M bill for defending the case.

“It will be a cold winter for John Park, Stephen Parbery and Vannin Capital, who recklessly gorged millions of dollars on liquidations fees and liquidating funding costs,” Palmer said.

“This case has cost Mineralogy millions of dollars and I will seek compensation from James Park and Vannin Capital. I will leave no stone unturned.”

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Palmer is separately proceeding with his legal action in the High Court to overturn what he describes to be unconstitutional border closures in both Queensland and Western Australia.

“The Queensland economy must keep growing and moving forward especially during the COVID-19 downturn,” he said on Facebook. “Australia’s deputy chief medical officer and leading expert on infectious diseases, professor Paul Kelly, says it is safe to open the domestic borders yet [Premier] Annastacia Palaszczuk thinks she knows better … [and] is using fear mongering on borders to try and strengthen her appeal.”

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