Friday 17th Aug, 2018

Palmer says Queensland Nickel ready to re-open

A nickel ore ship at Townsville, where (inset) Clive Palmer's Yabulu refinery processes it. Photo: Chris Mackey / Southern Cross Maritime. (Inset: Creative Commons / Benjamin J Macdonald)
A nickel ore ship at Townsville, where (inset) Clive Palmer's Yabulu refinery processes it. Photo: Chris Mackey / Southern Cross Maritime. (Inset: Creative Commons / Benjamin J Macdonald)

Queensland businessman Clive Palmer says he has approved plans to re-open the Queensland Nickel refinery in Townsville, despite its collapse in 2016 over hundreds of millions of dollars in debt.

In a press release on June 6, Palmer said a group of companies with a combined $500 million in cash reserves would work together to get the plant up and running again.

Palmer said no financial support was needed from the government but did call for its support.

“What is needed is a positive approach from the government to assist the refinery reopening in the shortest possible time,” Palmer said.

The QNI Resources refinery closed in 2016, as it struggled to deal with a low nickel price, but the price of nickel has surged over the last 18 months.

$500 million of Palmer’s private and company assets were frozen last moth by the Supreme Court, as Queensland Nickel’s liquidator, PPB Advisory, looks to recover the $70 million in government funds used to pay the 800 workers who lost their jobs when the refinery business collapsed.

At the time of its collapse, QNI reportedly owed roughly $300 million to a wide variety of debtors.

Palmer appeared on ABC’s 7:30 Report last week, decrying the Supreme Court’s actions, and defending payments to his nephew Clive Mesink, who – a former Queensland Nickel director – has failed to appear in court and is wanted on an arrest warrant.

“It’s my money, he’s my nephew and if I want to pay him $1 million a week I will because I’ve earned my money hard,” Palmer told the program.