A mining entrepreneur is calling for a state premier to step down over his recent remarks about a foreign resources company behind a US$12 billion (A$18 billion) metal project.
Mineralogy owner and Senate candidate Clive Palmer has accused Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan of having a “disturbing relationship” with CITIC, the Chinese state-run group behind the Sino Iron Ore Project at Cape Preston, about 100km southwest of Karratha.
Palmer claimed the premier was grandstanding before the May 18 election because he was upset the Australian Labor Party will receive no voting preferences from Palmer’s United Australia Party.
He also said McGowan has refused to meet with Palmer or other Mineralogy executives for at least a year to discuss a dispute between the two proponents over whether to seek State Government approval for more land to store waste material from the mine.
Mineralogy believes CITIC should have set aside $500 million for a site remediation fund.
However, the premier fears not applying for more land could put more than 3000 mining jobs at risk because CITIC is threatening to suspend operations. In WA Parliament he called Palmer a “greedy hypocrite” for collecting millions of dollars in royalties from CITIC while “running a disgraceful attack on our biggest trading partner”.
“I’ve never seen him do anything for anyone apart from himself – this is the greediest man in Australia,” McGowan said according to the Australian Associated Press. “He set his business up in Singapore, he’s gone offshore to avoid his liabilities. He is someone who the Australian public should hold in contempt and the Liberal Party should be ashamed they’ve done a deal with him.”
WA Opposition Leader Mike Nahan has offered to help McGowan resolve the deadlock.