New twist in Yabulu nickel refinery saga

Posted April 18, 2016

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Queensland Nickel Sales has taken control of all assets at the Yabulu nickel refinery in North Queensland and is planning to reopen later in the year, according to managing director Clive Mensink.

“We have a large team in place already which is ensuring compliance with all environmental conditions and we are working to optimise future production,” Mr Mensink said.

“At this stage I estimate an additional 700 jobs will be created in and around Townsville following the plant’s reopening.

“The nickel price is showing signs of recovery and we are taking time after 40 years of operation to see how the plant can be improved.

“The replacement cost of the plant is over $5 billion and its operation is important to the North Queensland economy.’’

Mr Mensink said QNS had been working closely with the Queensland Department of State Development and the Environmental Department, keeping them informed of the operation’s plans.

“We see a strong future for the operation and will announce in the coming weeks some major financial developments to assist the eventual expansion and upgrade of the plant’s capability,’’ Mr Mensink said.

Queensland Nickel Sales, formed after refinery operator Queensland Nickel went into administration, is a joint venture between two of owner Clive Palmer’s other businesses.

Federal Employment Minister Michaelia Cash announced late last week that the Australian Government would step in and pay outstanding entitlements to retrenched Queensland Nickel workers.

The release of the administrator’s report to creditors made it clear there was no rescue option on the table for the refinery, Senator Cash said.

The Fair Entitlements Guarantee (FEG) provides financial assistance to cover certain unpaid employment entitlements to eligible employees who lose their job due to the liquidation or bankruptcy of their employer.

Information sessions on the claim process will be hosted at the Mercure Hotel in Townsville, with workers to be notified through the administrator.

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