UPDATE 2-Mining magnate Palmer seeks government support to save nickel plant – by Sonali Paul (December 8, 2015)

http://www.reuters.com/

Dec 8 Australian mining magnate Clive Palmer said on Tuesday his Queensland Nickel refinery in Australia was seeking “minimal” government assistance to avert closure of the plant, hit by weak metals prices.

The businessman turned politician warned that the loss of the refinery would have serious consequences for the region around the city of Townsville in Queensland state, placing some 1,600 jobs in jeopardy.

The call for assistance from the Queensland state treasurer’s office comes a day after Palmer lost a bid to secure a $48 million advance from China’s CITIC Ltd in a West Australian court as part of an unrelated dispute over iron ore, having argued the funds were urgently needed for the Queensland business.

Earlier on Tuesday, Queensland Nickel Managing Director Clive Mensink, Palmer’s nephew, said the refinery was not seeking cash, but wanted a guarantee on a short-term basis secured by more than a billion dollars of assets.

A spokesman for the state treasurer, Curtis Pitt, said the state government had already been seeking a meeting with Palmer over the future of the refinery and had estalished an independent commission to look into the matter.

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