Palmer says CITIC spurned truce ap­peal

Pilbara News - - News - Nick Evans

Clive Palmer has again lashed out at CITIC, ac­cus­ing the Chi­nese com­pany of spurn­ing his of­fers to sit down with its Bei­jing-based chair­man and thrash out the myr­iad dis­putes be­tween the pair.

Mr Palmer’s com­ments came ahead of a Supreme Court hear­ing set last week, in which CITIC was to chal­lenge or­ders by Jus­tice Ken­neth Martin last year that the com­pany be­gins pay­ing roy­al­ties — partly to Mr Palmer’s Min­er­al­ogy and partly into a court es­crow ac­count — be­fore a full trial on whether the roy­al­ties are payable.

He also faces pres­sure from CITIC over al­le­ga­tions Min­er­al­ogy has re­fused to make ap­pli­ca­tions to the De­part­ment of State Devel­op­ment on the project’s be­half for the ex­pan­sion of stock­pile and tail­ings fa­cil­i­ties that CITIC ar­gues are crit­i­cal if the mas­sive project is to hit its 24 mil­lion-tonnes-a-year name­plate ca­pac­ity and be­come com­mer­cially vi­able.

Mr Palmer said he had at­tempted to ex­tend a “hand of friend­ship” to CITIC af­ter chair­man Chang Zhen­ming last month warned the dis­putes would have a “ma­jor bearing on the long-term vi­a­bil­ity of Sino Iron, its prof­itabil­ity and cash flow”.

Mr Palmer dis­missed sug­ges­tions that CITIC could walk away from the $US10 bil­lion project as “scare tac­tics”, say­ing the rest of its Aus­tralian busi­nesses could be on the hook if it quit the project, un­der guar­an­tees pro­vided to Min­er­al­ogy by its Chi­nese par­ent.

He said he would put “all of the is­sues on the ta­ble” if Mr Chang would sit down with him. It is un­der­stood Mr Palmer was in­stead of­fered a meet­ing with CITIC Pa­cific Min­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive Chen Zeng, who runs Sino Iron from Perth, and other ex­ec­u­tives.

But Mr Palmer de­scribed that as an of­fer to meet with “some ju­nior em­ploy­ees of a sub­sidiary com­pany”. “You need to re­solve these kinds of things be­tween prin­ci­pals — you have to meet with the peo­ple who can make de­ci­sions,” he said last week.

A spokesman for CITIC said last week the com­pany was al­ways avail­able to meet stake­hold­ers in the best in­ter­ests of the project, via the ap­pro­pri­ate chan­nels.

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