National

Palmer QN trial team attacks expert report

By AAP Newswire

Clive Palmer's legal team at the Queensland Nickel collapse trial has attempted to blunt a cutting expert report valuing the billionaire businessman's Galilee Basin mining project as worthless.

The team of mining experts found the China First Coal project was worth about $1 when the cash-strapped Townsville refinery allegedly signed deals worth $235 million with the company behind it.

This agreement, which was allegedly penned as the ailing refinery hurtled towards collapse in early 2016, is the focus of lawsuit being fought in the Brisbane Supreme Court.

On Wednesday, Mr Palmer's lawyers painstakingly dissected the report in a bid to highlight common paragraphs found in each of the expert's analysis, suggesting their work was far from independent.

But mining engineer Scott Barton disagreed, describing the paragraphs as merely "introductory, qualifier" remarks.

"(Yes) we've adopted the same words - I've read them, agreed with them and used them," he said from the witness box.

The experts were all working for the same company and recorded their work on a master document, the court heard.

Earlier, mining engineer Neville Hamilton disagreed with Mr Palmer's legal team's assertion that his Galilee Basin project had good prospects because similar projects in the US had prospered.

"The nature of longwall mining is extremely sensitive to site-specific geological, geotechnical, gas, hydrological, a whole range of modifying factors," he said.

Success in one location can't be guaranteed in another, he said.

However, geologist Aaron Radonich agreed Mr Palmer's project contained a "substantial" coal ore deposit of about 3.6 billion tonnes, but that he could not commend on the quality of the coal.

"It's a sizeable deposit," he replied to Mr Palmer who made the point it was larger than any deposit in NSW.

A further $22.4 million would have been required to take the project to mine lease stage, he concluded in his report.

The trial adjourned at lunchtime on Wednesday for legal argument, with evidence to resume on Thursday.