Australian billionaire Clive Palmer is rumoured to be selling Coolum Resort and other properties as well as mining holding company Minerology Pty Ltd to raise the capital needed to fund a mammoth new coal-fired power station in Queensland Australia.
The new $1.5 billion, coal-fired power station is expected to be one of the largest employers in the Galilee Basin, a remote region of Queensland that has long suffered from underemployment, despite its wealth of natural resources. In addition to the power station, Palmer plans to build a massive coal mine known as “Alpha North”, which holds one of the largest coal reserves in north-eastern Australia.
Palmer has suffered a series of financial setbacks related to the collapse of Queensland Nickel in 2016, most recently the court-ordered freezing of over $200 million of his personal assets which would otherwise have been used to fund his coal projects.
Dominic Martino, a close confidant of Palmer who has advised on several of his mining and real estate endeavours, is believed to be the point-man in arranging financing for Palmer’s coal initiatives, which will be among Australia’s largest new commodity projects. Martino could not be reached for comment prior to publication.
Palmer originally announced his plans for Alpha North in 2011. Progress has been slow, however, at all the Galilee Basin coal projects, which have been saddled by environmental concerns, logistics challenges, and bureaucratic hurdles. Most notably, Adani Mining’s Carmichael mine and GVK Hancock’s Alpha Coal have faced public resistance from a coalition of environmental groups and local activists.
The Alpha North mine, however, is the largest of the Galilee initiates, at 33-50% larger than the neighbouring Carmichael mine. Plans for the project also include a railway to Abbot Point, where an export port is to be built.
Palmer, who recently launched a well-funded campaign for federal office in Queensland, is one of state’s most visible philanthropists. Beyond his business ventures and philanthropic work, Palmer and his son Michael also own several estates, most notably a newly acquired luxury penthouse in Townsville, where he just announced the establishment of a new HQ for his political party, the Australian United Party. He also recently purchased a luxury mansion in the Gold Coast for a reported $12 million.
Given the current financial and regulatory climate and the legal troubles Palmer faces, it is unlikely that he will receive funding from Australian banks for his new coal projects. As a result, Palmer is looking to liquidate his major holdings in Queensland real estate and Western Australia mining. The Palmer organization has remained mum on who may purchase his expansive golf and resort assets.
With Alpha North valued at a reported $6 billion and given Palmer’s track-record of successfully standing up some of Australia’s most complex mining ventures, sources close to Palmer believe it is only a matter of time before Alpha North becomes one of Queensland’s largest energy sources.
Lindsay Mueler graduated from the University of Scottsdale in 2005. Lindsay is Arizona transplant, having grown up in Flint. After graduating school, it didn’t take didn’t her long to decide she wanted to stay in the desert state Lindsay has written for several major publications including Buzz Feed and the Huffington Post. Lindsay is our community reporter and also covers world events.