Qld asked for $10m to keep Clive Palmer's refinery open

Clive Palmer
Clive Palmer john mccutcheon

THE State Government is being asked for a $10 million line of credit to save jobs at Clive Palmer's embattled Queensland Nickel refinery.

The Australian Financial Review reported today that administrators FTI Consulting have asked the  government for an urgent $10 million temporary overdraft facility otherwise the refinery could shut down this week.

FTI Consulting previously said Queensland Nickel had enough cash to operate until April 30.

Queensland Nickel was placed into voluntary administration on January 18 with 237 workers later sacked.

The jobs of the remaining 550 workers hang in the balance.

Last month, the government announced plans to create 430 jobs in north Queensland in response to the crisis at a cost of $187 million.

Earlier this year, former Palmer United Party leader Alex Douglas called on the government to trade debt for equity to keep the business afloat.

The government has previously denied requests from Clive Palmer for a loan facility, saying Queensland Nickel had failed to open its books.

Dr Douglas  said the Queensland Government stepped in when Alan Bond struck trouble, running the business for four years before on-selling at a profit to BHP.

Dr Douglas said  the consequences for Townsville would be disastrous.

Mr Palmer claims he has spent $4 billion in North Queensland since 2009 supporting 1500 workers in addition to the nearly 1000 that had been employed at the plant.

He says the business is worth $1.3 billion in economic activity annually in Townsville alone.

QNI debts hover around $70 million, of which $27 million is owed to the partially Qld Government owned rail business Aurizon and an unknown sum to the wholly owned government business Townsville Ports.

The nickel refiner is the port's biggest customer.

Topics:  clive palmer editors picks employment mining queensland nickel refinery townsville

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