Palmer settles over Qld Nickel collapse

Aaron Bunch
Clive Palmer has settled over the collapse of Queensland Nickel in a deal worth more than $100m

It took liquidators three years to get Clive Palmer into court to face a $200 million Queensland Nickel lawsuit, but just three weeks to make him pay up.

The deal announced in the Brisbane Supreme Court on Monday is understood to be worth about $110 million.

This includes repaying $66 million in taxpayer funds used to meet hundreds of sacked workers' entitlements when the Townsville refinery collapsed in 2016.

It also secures payment for the majority of unsecured creditors in full, plus all other outstanding employee entitlements, special-purpose liquidator Stephen Parbery said in a statement.

The breakthrough follows the settlement of an $88 million Aurizon claim on Thursday following days of talks between the billionaire businessman and the liquidators on the sidelines of the three-week-old trial.

That deal is understood to be worth $18 million and settled all outstanding Aurizon rail haulage fees but did not include a $70 million claim for lost revenue resulting from the early termination of QN's contract.

A lawyer for the liquidators, Shane Doyle, announced the settlement saying all claims for the special-purpose liquidator had been concluded and just those of the general-purpose liquidator remained.

These include a claim against Mr Palmer's company Mineralogy, which the court has heard allegedly received loans worth $115 million from QN without repaying them.

It also includes accusations the refinery traded insolvently before administrators were called and Mr Palmer was allegedly a party to a $235 million uncommercial transaction related to his mining projects in the Galilee Basin.

The court has previously heard that as the refinery hurtled towards collapse in late 2015, the cash-strapped company was $25 million in the red and losing $5 million more each month with creditors circling.

The refinery's predicament came to a head in January 2016 when Aurizon rejected the Palmer team's payment plan for rail transport debts and threatened to suspend its services.

QN then entered voluntary administration, which led to the refinery closing three months later.

The trial continues on Thursday to hear the general-purpose liquidators' claims, which are understood to be worth more than $100 million.