Palmer in court win against CITIC

CHINA’S CITIC has suffered another setback in a long-running legal dispute against Clive Palmer’s Mineralogy.
Palmer in court win against CITIC Palmer in court win against CITIC Palmer in court win against CITIC Palmer in court win against CITIC Palmer in court win against CITIC

Clive Palmer at the Yabulu nickel refinery

Staff reporter

The WA Court of Appeal rejected an appeal by CITIC with respect to its payment to Mineralogy of Royalty B.

Mineralogy is entitled to royalties from CITIC's Sino Iron project after selling the Chinese company the project in 2006.

However, CITIC has long argued it did not need to pay Royalty B because it was based on an annual benchmark iron ore price that was abandoned in 2010 for the spot price system, an argument rejected in November 2017 and again today.

Palmer reportedly receives A$1 million in royalties a day from CITIC, which largely bankrolled his failed $60 million election campaign as leader of the United Australia Party.

A CITIC spokesman said the company was disappointed with the outcome.

"CITIC has made a significant investment in Sino Iron, pioneering a new downstream processing industry and delivering local jobs and other major economic benefits for the Western Australian community, as well as Mr Palmer directly," he said.

"Our challenges are well-publicised but we will continue to do everything possible to put Sino Iron on a long-term sustainable footing, for the benefit of all Western Australians.

"We will carefully consider the reasons for today's judgment and have no further comment."

CITIC has warned in the past that Sino Iron would be unviable if it lost the case against Mineralogy.

Palmer, who was in Karratha today, said CITIC must follow the rule of law after a nasty five-year court battle.

"During these five years, CITIC continually just took the ore. Those funds not paid at that time to Mineralogy would have been used to keep Queensland Nickel open and 3000 jobs in North Queensland would not have been lost," he said.

"It is also very concerning that CITIC has still not paid one dollar towards the site remediation fund which has been independently assessed at $500 million."

Palmer has blocked CITIC's attempts to expand the Sino Iron waste facilities, which led WA premier Mark McGowan to last week describe Palmer as a "clear and present danger" to the West Australian economy.

McGowan has threatened to alter CITIC's state agreement to bypass Palmer.

"Why would the WA premier give commercial advantage to a foreign company? The WA government should be protecting the rule of law," Palmer said today.

"Mineralogy has always been willing to assist with the progress and development of this project, however CITIC has had the view that it gets everything for free as it is owned by the Chinese government.

"Why does the WA government give CITIC a 50% discount on royalties, costing the WA people hospitals, schools and its AAA rating?

"Why is the WA government interfering in a commercial transaction and not simply allowing the rule of law to apply equally?"