News State QLD News Behind-the-scenes talks halt Queensland Nickel trial

Behind-the-scenes talks halt Queensland Nickel trial

clive palmer queensland nickel
The court ruling is a significant victory for Clive Palmer. Photo: AAP
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Behind-the-scenes talks between the warring parties at the Queensland Nickel collapse trial are set to continue for a second night.

Lawyers have been tight-lipped in and outside court about what the discussions might mean for the massive lawsuit between Clive Palmer and the liquidators of his Townsville refinery.

The billionaire businessman was absent from the Brisbane Supreme Court trial again on Wednesday and has not cross-examined top QN liquidator John Park, who he personally subpoenaed.

It was left up to lawyer for the Palmer companies, Dr Chris Ward SC, to advise Justice Debra Mullins that the talks that halted the trial earlier in the day would need to continue for a second night.

Justice Mullins agreed to stand down the trial until 2.30pm on Thursday after Dr Ward completed his own cross-examination of Mr Park on Wednesday afternoon.

What the talks are about has been revealed but earlier Dr Ward hinted some sort of resolution could occur.

“There’s an issue with 2pm because there’s something that might happen by 2pm,” he said when discussing trial resumption times on Wednesday morning with Justice Mullins.

On Tuesday, Mr Park told the court QN was losing about $1 million a week when administrators arrived at the cash-strapped refinery in January 2016.

Within two weeks a $5 million black hole quickly doubled in size when creditors began demanding payment on overdue accounts, he said.

The refinery’s dire situation contrasted with the lavish lunch meeting Mr Palmer laid on for Mr Park and his team at a Gold Coast restaurant as they negotiated administrators taking over the allegedly insolvent refinery.

Days later, Mr Park met Mr Palmer again, this time at Mr Palmer’s Palazzo Versace apartment at Main Beach on January 13, the liquidator said.

Two days later, Mr Palmer and his team axed 237 safety and procurement workers from the refinery in a last-ditch bid to cut costs.

“[After it occurred], there were genuine concerns with the staff, the remaining 555, that the staff cuts were too high and it was compromising safety on site,” Mr Park said

The trial continues.