The West

Palmer claims  port lockout
Stoush: The Cape Preston port. Picture: Bloomberg

Billionaire MP Clive Palmer claims the Federal Government wants to lock him out of his WA leases by favouring the security plan of Chinese company CITIC to protect the Cape Preston port over that of his firm Mineralogy.

In the latest round of the legal bout between Mr Palmer and his estranged Chinese partner, lawyers for Mineralogy have launched another bid to wrest control of the key port involved in exporting billions of dollars of iron ore from the Pilbara.

It comes after a decision earlier this year by Department of Infrastructure official Pauline Sullivan to reject the maritime security plan of Mr Palmer's company and instead accepted CITIC's proposal.

Maritime security plans are legally required for every Australian port and must set out the security measures and procedures at each security level to safeguard against any unlawful interference of maritime transport and facilities.

Barrister James Peters told the Federal Court in Perth yesterday the decision to accept CITIC's proposal effectively gave the Chinese company the right to lock Mr Palmer's workers out of his leases, which went against natural justice.

But CITIC lawyers claimed Ms Sullivan's decision was in the best interest of ensuring port safety from terrorist attack after previous hearings were told Mineralogy's plans to keep the port safe contained "fundamental factual inaccuracies and omissions".

Confirming the acrimony between the parties, Mr Peters said CITIC refused to talk to its supposed partner while both parties were drawing up safety plans to the point it refused to acknowledge Mineralogy in documents.

That intransigence, Mr Peters said, went to the heart of CITIC's attitude towards Mineralogy and Mr Palmer.

"This is the kernel . . .they don't need to share, they don't even need to give Mineralogy access," Mr Peters said. "(The effect is) they control the whole port and they shut out Mineralogy from its own leased areas."

Mineralogy wants the Government decision on the plans set aside but Alan Archibald for CITIC said the decision was made correctly.

Justice Neil McKerracher reserved his decision.

'They don't need to share, they don't even need to give Mineralogy access.'"Barrister *James Peters *

The West Australian

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