Doubts cloud Palmer’s coal deal

Clive Palmer's US$60 coal export deal has been brought into further doubt after more denials from China.

Confusion reigns over the validity of Clive Palmer’s announcement of a US$60 billion coal export contract with a Chinese power company, which said it has signed no such agreement.

China Power International (CPI) Development, a Hong Kong listed company, yesterday released a statement denying any deal with Palmer and his company Resourcehouse.

CPI Development, “did not contact nor negotiate with Resourcehouse about any agreement,” the company said.

“And the company did not sign any documents, whether legally binding or not, with Resourcehouse.”

This revelation followed earlier reports in the Chinese media saying that any coal export deal was far from being finalised.

Palmer announced on the weekend that Resourcehouse had signed a 20 year sales agreement that will see CPI Development buy 30 million tonnes of coal per year at an annual cost of around US$3 billion.

He called the deal the largest export contract in Australia’s history.

In Beijing yesterday, Palmer said he named the wrong party when announcing the deal and admitted the US$60 billion price tag was and estimate of his own making.

Palmer said the deal is in fact with China Power International (CPI) Holding, an unlisted State-owned business and the parent company of CPI Development.

The deal has been brought further into question after CPI Holding’s vice-president is reported to have said yesterday that the two companies have only signed a “framework agreement.”

“We are working harder to settle the final contract, which will take some time to complete,” Zhao Yazho said.

Regardless of the present confusion, Resourcehouse said it believes the deal is very much in place.

“We stand by, confirm 100%, that we have a binding contract with China Power International Holdings,” a company spokesperson said.