Clive Palmer’s spat with Chinese mining conglomerate Citic Pacific is not going to end any time soon. The billionaire MP has launched an extraordinary attack on Chinese interests in Australia.
“I will not stand by and see Australian interests raped and disrespected by foreign-owned companies,” he said in a statement after winning a Federal Court ruling which asserted his company Mineralogy as legal operator of Port Preston, south of Karratha, WA.
Palmer owns the land upon which Citic has built its $8 billion Sino iron ore mine. It paid Palmer $415 million for the mining rights in 2006 and finally shipped its first product back to China in December.
The ownership of Port Preston is one of the most hotly contested matters in a long-running dispute over royalty payments.
The Department of Infrastructure and Transport originally found in favour of Mineralogy, but its decision was overturned soon after by the Federal Government, which allowed Citic to begin shipping iron ore.
Following yesterday’s decision, Citic will now have to negotiate with Palmer over the use of Port Preston.
Palmer has previously described the claim as “a grab by the Chinese government for an Australian port” and told the Australian Financial Review Citic was effectively “stealing Australian resources”.
Yesterday, he won the battle, adding that “Mineralogy stood as the last sentry at the gate protecting freedom of exploitation in Australia” before making the extraordinary rape reference.
The Australian spoke to Citic Pacific president Zhang Jijing yesterday, who told it he had “never met such a person like this gentleman” and the dispute “had prompted other Chinese companies to place Australia on a watchlist as a potential investment destination”.
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