Palmer takes back control of refinery from administrators
UPDATE: CLIVE Palmer's Queensland Nickel Sales has managed to bypass administrators to take control of the Fairfax MP's troubled Yabulu refinery.
Administrators for Queensland Nickel say they have received notice that Queensland Nickel Sales would replace Queensland Nickel as the manager of operations at the refinery.
"The decision to replace Queensland Nickel Pty Ltd as joint venture manager was determined by Mr Clive Mensink as Director of QNI Resources Pty Ltd and QNI Metals Pty Ltd.
The actions of Clive Palmer, Clive Mensink, and their related entities are beyond the control of the Administrators," the administrators say in a statement.
"The Voluntary Administrators of Queensland Nickel Pty Ltd will continue to act in their capacity as Administrators of the Company, although will no longer have operational or management control of the Yabulu Refinery.
Their role will now centre on evaluating proposals tendered for the potential future restructure of the Company or in the alternative, liquidation of the Company.
This will include the continuing investigation into the past management of the Company and the underlying reasons for its insolvency.
"The Administrators have been advised today that Queensland Nickel Sales Pty Ltd has a conditional offer for approximately $23 million of funding to support the business operation of the Refinery.
It is understood the conditional funding facility will be secured against assets outside of Queensland Nickel Pty Ltd which were not available to the Administrators in the discharge of their duties as manager of the Yabulu Refinery.
"Prior to being replaced as manager, the Administrators had given strong consideration to placing the Yabulu Refinery into care and maintenance due to ongoing trading losses being incurred and their concerns over plant maintenance, safety and environmental issues.
"The Administrators have been advised that Queensland Nickel Sales Pty Ltd will offer all current employees of Queensland Nickel Pty Ltd employment on the same terms and conditions as they are currently engaged.
The Administrators are liaising with staff relating to the current situation.
"The Administrators are working to provide a recommendation to the creditors as to the future direction of Queensland Nickel Pty Ltd as quickly as possible, with a report to creditors due to be issued on or before 15 April 2016."
Palmer urged to detail impacts on sacked workers, creditors
Queensland Treasurer Curtis Pitt said Clive Palmer should detail the effects on workers and creditors of his new corporate arrangements for managing and operating the Yabulu nickel refinery.
"Administrators of Queensland Nickel Pty Ltd, FTI Consulting, have stated that the new arrangements put in place were outside the control of FTI," Mr Pitt said.
"Mr Palmer needs to explain clearly what this new arrangement means for the existing entitlements of the refinery's current employees, and what guarantees he can give them about their future employment security and their existing entitlements.
"The employees need clarity.
"Mr Palmer also needs to explain what impact the new arrangements may have on existing creditors including the 237 workers who have already been made redundant."
"The restructure undertaken today needs to be transparent to all concerned and to the wider North Queensland community.
"Quite rightly people have been deeply concerned about their own futures because of the uncertainty over the future of the refinery.
"They now need to be given clear explanations and assurances about what the changes mean for them and their future."
FTI has also advised the Treasurer's office today that it would no longer seek a loan facility from the state government.
Springborg opposes $10m loan for Palmer's refinery
EARLIER: QUEENSLAND taxpayers' money should not be spent 'cleaning up the mess' left by Clive Palmer, Opposition leader Lawrence Springborg said on Monday.
Mr Springborg was commenting on news the State Government is considering guaranteeing a $10 million loan to bail out the Sunshine Coast MP's Queensland Nickel refinery in Townsville.
FTI Consulting, the plant's administrators, have asked the State Government to step in as a guarantor.
The refinery, run by Mr Palmer's nephew, was put into voluntary administration in January. More than 230 workers have been sacked and another 550 jobs are in limbo.
Mr Palmer has repeatedly refused to comment on issues around the refinery, saying he's not responsible.
Queensland Treasurer Curtis Pitt said on Sunday the government was still considering whether to grant the loan request to keep the plant open on several conditions.
One condition includes that Mr Palmer exits the Townsville business and provides full access to the company's books.
Mr Springborg said the State Government should not assist.
"Mr Palmer is the one who should be ultimately responsible here.
"He runs around, boasts about his extraordinary wealth and yet he seems to be stepping away from this."
Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill said she welcomed the State Government's approach, the ABC reported.
"If we can remove Clive Palmer from the running of the company then there's an opportunity for the Government to support and for the company to be sold and these workers to keep their jobs," she said.