Aaron Bunch Journalist with Australian Associated Press | Collection of published work | + 61 484 008 119 | abunch@aap.com.au

Aaron Bunch
Palmer blinks in Qld Nickel collapse fight

Mining magnate Clive Palmer has agreed to pay liquidators $18 million to settle Queensland Nickel’s $88 million unpaid rail transport debt owed to Aurizon.

August 2, 2019

Clive Palmer has blinked first during his $200 million standoff with Queensland Nickel’s liquidators, agreeing to pay $18 million to settle $88 million in unpaid rail transport fees.

It’s the first concession the billionaire businessman has made during his three year battle following the collapse of the Townsville refinery in 2016.

He’s previously said he has “a moral responsibility” to fight liquidators, 

A lawyer for the liquidators, Shane Doyle, broke the news to the Brisbane Supreme Court trial hearing the liquidators’ claims, saying a resolution had been reached over Aurizon’s debts.

Mr Doyle did not say how much Mr Palmer and his co-defendants had agreed to pay, but an Aurizon statement suggests the confidential settlement was much less than the liquidators’ total claim.

“Aurizon confirms it has settled claims with Queensland Nickel for outstanding rail haulage fees that were subject to liquidation proceedings,” the company said in a statement.

In 2016, Aurizon reported it had made provision for $18 million in bad debt owed by QN for outstanding rail haulage fees.

The company estimated an additional $70 million would be foregone in revenue from the lost contract, but that amount is understood to have not been settled.

The breakthrough followed two nights of behind-the-scenes discussions between Mr Palmer and the liquidators of the refinery, which was shut down by administrators with the loss of 555 jobs.

Mr Doyle also hinted Mr Palmer, who was not present in court when the announcement was made, may soon settle more of the liquidator’s claims.

The trial continues on Friday.

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