Clive Palmer has denied allegations he acted as a shadow director for the insolvent Queensland Nickel, and supplied the ABC with a 93-page report which he said cleared his name.
Palmer explained that he was a member of a Joint Venture Owners Committee, which oversaw the joint venture owners of the Yabulu refinery, QNI Resources and QNI Metals, a would “direct, monitor and give instructions” to refinery management company Queensland Nickel.
This, Palmer argued, meant he was not a shadow director of Queensland Nickel, which was “contracted to carry out services” to the other two companies.
The agreement for the management and ownership structure of the Yabulu refinery was first signed in 1992 during the ownership of BHP.
Correspondence from Palmer’s “Terry Smith” alias email account showed Palmer had power of veto over spending decisions by management of the refinery.
Despite administrator FTI Consulting’s recommendation the plant should be liquidated in order to pay creditors, including around 800 former employees owed $73 million worth of entitlements, Palmer has insisted the plant should be kept running.
“What we should be doing is trying to get the federal and state governments and company and the community working together to save the refinery and reopen it and keep everyone’s jobs in north Queensland,” he said.
“It really only needs a little bit of an upturn in the price and it will be able to sustain north Queensland again.”
The Queensland state government has indicated it would prefer Palmer sell the plant to a company that can continue operation.
Queensland Nickel’s debts total nearly $200 million.