Nov 18, 2019

Palmer in port spat over Yabulu refinery restart plans

Palmer in port spat over Yabulu refinery restart plans

Clive Palmer has taken a swipe at Port of Townsville over negotiations for a lease required to restart Yabulu refinery imports.

And he flagged a public relations campaign by his company to highlight the ‘appalling acts of self-interested Labor politicians’.

But Queensland Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey says Mr Palmer should drop his usual shenanigans of blaming the government and instead demonstrate how he intends to progress talks with Berth 2 lessees Glencore.

Clive Palmer.

Mr Palmer said Queensland Nickel Resources was only seeking the same terms and conditions that had been successfully operating for 20 years previously at the port.

“The Townsville Port Authority continues to refuse our company the same terms and conditions which need to be offered to make the operation sustainable in the future,’’ Mr Palmer said.

He said the authority needed to put the people of Townsville before its own self interests and slammed State Labor members and local council representatives, who he says have continually refused to meet with Queensland Nickel staff.

Port wants proof of finance behind refinery plan

However a Port of Townsville spokeswoman said that organisation wanted to see the nickel refinery re-opened and had made it clear it was happy to enter into new agreements to see nickel ore imports through the port. 

“We simply require QN to provide evidence that it has the finance and approvals to re-open the refinery, and appropriate guarantees to ensure that the berth would remain in continuous use,” she said.

Port of Townsville had initially sent contracts to Queensland Nickel for port leases more than a year ago on essentially the same terms as previous agreements, she said. Despite repeated efforts QN had still not signed the agreements.

Mr Bailey said Queenslanders could see through Clive Palmer’s excuses and theatrics.

“Everyone in Townsville remembers Mr Palmer flattening the town’s economy when he closed his refinery and sacked 550 workers,” he said.

“The Port of Townsville continues to be open to discussions with Queensland Nickel about re-starting nickel ore imports through Townsville’s publicly-owned port.

“Queensland Nickel is seeking to access Berth 2 at the Port of Townsville, which is leased by Glencore.

“Queensland Nickel previously accessed Berth 2 for nickel ore imports under a commercial contract with Glencore, and I’m advised QN is in discussions with Glencore about renewing this commercial arrangement.”

Significant impact for NQ economy

Mr Palmer says his company has allocated tens of millions of dollars towards reopening the Yabulu refinery.

“Once the refinery is reopened, the impact on the NQ economy will be significant. Getting it back in operation should be a major priority for everyone,’’ Mr Palmer said.

Mr Palmer recently bought the Queensland Building in Townsville’s CBD at auction for $780,000 and plans ton use the heritage building as his North Queensland head office.