Clive Palmer insists his announcement just days before the federal election that his collapsed Queensland Nickel refinery will reopen isn't a political ploy to attract votes for his party.
The Palmer United Party (PUP) leader, flanked by two Senate candidates and surrounded by party branding, revealed on Thursday the Yabulu refinery, near Townsville, would reopen on March 31 after regulatory and commercial requirements were met.
Mr Palmer claimed he called the press conference to discuss Labor leadership rumblings, despite his media team earlier advising it was about the refinery reopening and a press release handed to journalists upon arrival indicating the same thing.
"My speech was about politics, it wasn't about the refinery," he said.
Mr Palmer insisted it was "purely a coincidence" that he made the announcement two days before Australians go to the polls.
"It's not of concern to me, because I'm not in politics - I'm in business. I'm more concerned about business," he said.
Mr Palmer, who isn't recontesting his seat of Fairfax but will stay on as PUP chairman, has a history of outrageous political statements during election campaigns.
In 2012 he claimed the Greens were conspiring with the CIA against Australia's resources industry, only to later admit he didn't believe those claims but said them to help the Liberal National Party get elected in Queensland.
When that was put to him, Mr Palmer reiterated his announcement wasn't "a political thing".
His party is running candidates only for the Senate and the lower house seat of Herbert, where the refinery is.
Mr Palmer said an increase in world nickel prices had made production feasible again.
He lashed out when told the nickel price was still below $7, which liquidators estimated it needed to be at for the company to break even.
"The administrators are just full of bull****," Mr Palmer said.
He said 50 employees had been rehired to maintain the Yabulu site and repair it to be reopened.
Another 200 were on a waiting list to be re-employed, he said.
North Queensland Minister Coralee O'Rourke was cynical about Mr Palmer's motives, tweeting: "Hope for #Townsville's sake this isn't a @CliveFPalmer pre-election stunt. Like all things Clive, we'll believe it when/if we see it."
About 800 workers were sacked following the refinery's collapse this year and about $70 million in taxpayer funds was used to cover their unpaid entitlements.
Special-purpose liquidators were last month appointed to pursue Mr Palmer's assets to try to recoup the taxpayer funds.
Mr Palmer was also supposed to appear in court this month to be questioned about his role in the refinery's collapse, but that was delayed because his nephew - QN's sole appointed director Clive Mensink - was overseas and couldn't appear alongside him.