$7 million in equipment missing from Pilbara project

Seven million dollars’ worth of plant materials and equipment has disappeared at a mine construction site in the Pilbara, with an 18-month old insurance claim yet to determine its whereabouts.

The material went missing from the Sino Iron project at Cape Preston, WA around 2013, and is believed to include a truck, crane, and approximately 4000 tonnes of scaffolding.

It is considered one of the biggest disappearances of its kind, according to the West Australian.

The equipment was hired by contractor Construction Industries Australia (CIA) from Concreting Australia for work to build the Citic Pacific operated $10 billion magnetite mine.

Chinese owned Citic Pacific had been in a long standing battle with Clive Palmer’s Mineralogy over the development of the project – which experienced a series of delays and cost blowouts – with Palmer eventually dropping a case to force Citic into liquidation.

In the background to these legal battles, between 2010 and 2013 the assets were then moved to the Cape Preston site by CIA.

Around 2013, the equipment was then “removed from a person or persons unknown”, in a writ filed in the Supreme Court.

CIA was a subsidiary of Allmine Group – which collapsed in 2013 – and has since been in liquidation. Its creditors held a meeting in April and identified that equipment had allegedly been stolen.

In January 2015, liquidators David Hurt and Kim Strickland from WA Insolvency Solutions made a claim to WFI Insurance on behalf of Concreting Australia’s behalf to recoup the equipment.

The liquidators filed a writ against the IAG-owned insurer last week, claiming approximately $7 million in damages; around $5 million to cover aluminium formwork and shoring assets, and about $2 million in general plant and equipment.

The equipment was insured for loss or damage of up to $15 million in a 2012 contract.

An IAG spokeswoman said a legal process was underway and the insurer could not comment if a claim was open.

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