When $6 billion is not enough: Australian mining billionaire to sue newspaper for $50 million

Australian mining tycoon Clive Palmer is threating to sue the Sydney Morning Herald, one of the most respected daily newspapers in Down Under, for $50 million over “totally false and improper claims” about his China First coal mine.

The SMH reported last week Swiss energy provider Vitol had cancelled a $40 billion coal supply contract with China First.

“The setback highlights the contrast between Mr. Palmer’s fondness for bold statements and the results he achieves,” it said.

Palmer, who is 58 and has an estimated net worth between $3 to $6 billion, said the SMH report was “false and misleading.”

“We believe these allegations were made for an improper purpose and my companies intend to proceed against the Sydney Morning Herald and the journalists concerned and seek $50 million in damages,” he was quoted as saying by Adelaide Now.

Australian media seems to be having a hard time reporting on mining. At the end of April, Xstrata Coal threatened media company Mumbrella with defamation charges after it published a parody video of the anti mining taxes campaign, by The Minerals Council of Australia (MCA). In early May, Australian rare earths miner Lynas Corporation (ASX:LYC), published a statement condemning the criticism to its Malaysian rare earth plant, which the company qualified as a “concerted political campaign, based on misinformation.”  Lynas also filed a defamation action against Malaysian protestors and opponents

Now Palmer, who made his fortune through securing access to 160 billion tonnes of iron ore reserves in the Pilbara Ranges, is making up his mind on what to do regarding what he has called “an appalling standard of journalism.”

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