Roy Hill Holdings was back in court yesterday with accusations that principal contractor Samsung C&T has deliberately held up the project as a commercial strategy.
The WA Supreme Court heard from Roy Hill’s counsel that Samsung had refused to hand over control of equipment systems due to concerns it would not have access to them to achieve practical completion of the project, due 31 May 2016.
Roy Hill said it had missed the 31 October deadline for its first iron ore shipment and did not know when that milestone would be met, The West Australian reported.
The original contract with Samsung specified penalties of $55.9 million per month, charged daily, for missing the first shipment deadline, however an amendment to those details made in April has not been publically disclosed.
Roy Hill Project commercial director Paul Laybourne gave evidence suggesting that commissioning and the first shipment of ore were not a priority for Samsung, who were instead focussed on the 31 May deadline.
Laybourne’s claims were based on a colleague’s account of a meeting with Samsung officials on 4 November.
However, counsel for Samsung said Roy Hill had “inappropriately impugned” the contractor’s commercial conduct.
Samsung has argued the case should not proceed on 8 December, saying the dispute should be arbitrated confidentially in Singapore, however Roy Hill counsel said this was a matter of urgency rather than “shopping for the best forum”.
The decision was reserved.