Nickel hearing continues, but Clive absent again

CLIVE Palmer is again absent from the Queensland Nickel collapse trial, which is to hear revised claims from liquidators following the billionaire businessman's massive settlement earlier in the week.

The self-represented mining magnate had been defending a $200 million lawsuit brought by two sets of liquidators after the Townsville refinery's 2016 collapse.

But on Monday, Mr Palmer settled claims understood to be worth about $100 million, including agreeing to repay $66 million in taxpayer money used to fund entitlements for sacked workers.

It followed settlement of an $88 million Aurizon claim after days of out-of- court negotiations between opposing legal camps.

Businessman Clive Palmer leaves the District Court in Brisbane last month. Picture: Dan Peled/AAP
Businessman Clive Palmer leaves the District Court in Brisbane last month. Picture: Dan Peled/AAP

Mr Palmer is now fighting just one team of liquidators over what is understood to be $100 million for a handful of creditor claims related to his company Mineralogy and two Galilee Basin mining projects.

The Brisbane Supreme Court trial has previously heard Mineralogy received loans worth $115 million from the cash-strapped refinery but never repaid them.

QN's debt-riddled 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 with the loss of hundreds of jobs.

A lawyer for liquidators Graham Gibson says in the days before administrators arrived at the ailing refinery, "extraordinary" deals worth $235 million were signed with China First and Waratah Coal.

The shares in Mr Palmer's allegedly "worthless" coal projects were of no commercial benefit to QN but benefited the miningmagnate ahead of workers if the company went into administration, he said.

Mr Palmer has also been accused of acting as a shadow director of QN, which allegedly traded insolvently.

The liquidator has had little to say outside court about the remaining claims but Mr Palmer has said they're baseless.

He's also been hitting the airwaves in recent days to attack the liquidators over their alleged failure to supply what he claims were crucial documents to the defence team before the trial began.

This could be the curtain-raiser to a challenge over the Aurizon agreement, with Mr Palmer saying he would not have releasedthe company from a separate $1.6 billion claim if he'd known about the unsupplied documents.

The hearing continues today.

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