• Australian company claims in lawsuit Citic owes royalties
  • Long-running legal dispute described by judge as `lamentable'

Australian mining tycoon Clive Palmer’s Mineralogy Pty is seeking A$10 billion ($7.1 billion) in damages from China’s Citic Ltd., claiming the state-owned company owes royalty payments. 

It’s the latest development in a long-running legal dispute between the two companies over an iron ore project considered one of the largest foreign mining investments by a Chinese company in Australia. 

The company started by Palmer, who is also an Australian lawmaker, filed a lawsuit against Citic in the Western Australia Supreme Court, according to its e-mail on Monday. The court documents weren’t immediately available.

Citic Pacific Mining Management Pty, a Perth-based unit of the Chinese company, said in an e-mailed statement Tuesday that export operations aren’t affected and it’s focused on ensuring the Sino Iron project reaches its full potential.

“We look forward to having the validity of these latest claims scrutinized by the courts and will continue to protect the interests of the project, our company and shareholders,” according to Citic’s statement.

Mineralogy last month lost a bid in the Federal Court to stop Citic from using a Western Australia port. The litigation between the two companies may last for years, according to the decision by Justice James Edelman.

“It is lamentable that despite many millions of dollars that have been spent on this litigation alone, there remain numerous issues in dispute,” the judge wrote in the Aug. 14 decision.

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