Palmer says CITIC spurned truce appeal
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.