Queensland Nickel approves plans to restart Yabulu Refinery

Clive Palmer’s QNI Resources is a step closer to reopening the Yabulu Nickel Refinery in Queensland.

Palmer today released a statement saying QNI had approved plans to reopen the facility near Townsville in yet another twist for this ongoing saga.

The businessman claimed that “other group companies” had nearly $500 million of cash reserves in Queensland banks that could be deployed to reopen the refinery.

“It was time for all governments and the community to work together to assist the refinery in opening in the shortest possible time,’’ Palmer said.

Queensland Nickel entered into voluntary administration in January 2016, leaving hundreds of employees out of work and the company $300 million in debt

The two-and-a-half years since have involved an ongoing court case to resolve the future of the refinery and compensation arrangements for the former workers.

To reopen the refinery, Palmer said QNI was not seeking cash from any party or financial assistance. It could, instead, be achieved from his group’s own funds, he added.

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

“The refinery operations over 40 years provided 3000 jobs for North Queensland and was North Queensland’s largest employer.

“It is time for all sides to forget about politics and to support the Queensland company that owns the refinery and is debt free to open and operate for the benefit of Townsville and the nation.”

Palmer, who acquired the refinery in 2009 from BHP Billiton, had $200 million of assets frozen by the Supreme Court of Queensland last month following an application by the liquidators of Queensland Nickel.

The liquidators targeted the asset freeze to protect the interests of creditors of Queensland Nickel in the event that legal claims being pursued against the entities and Palmer are successful.