A favourable court decision has helped propel Clive Palmer back to the top of Queensland’s rich list. Picture: Glenn Hunt/AAP
A favourable court decision has helped propel Clive Palmer back to the top of Queensland’s rich list. Picture: Glenn Hunt/AAP

$4bn gone, but Clive’s still our richest

CLIVE Palmer has shed almost $4 billion from his fortune over a tumultuous 10 years but remains Queensland's richest person with $2.8 billion.

A decade ago, Mr Palmer was riding the resources boom, having negotiated a lucrative deal with Chinese group CITIC to mine his vast iron ore deposit in Western Australia for decades.

He had debuted on rich lists only a year earlier.

There was also his ownership of coalfields in the Galilee Basin - and the eventual unfulfilled promise of a $70 billion export agreement slated to create 7500 jobs.

In 2008, Mr Palmer was worth $6.5 billion by his own estimation. He had married his second wife, Anna, a year earlier and had just become a father for the third time.

There were oil and gas field holdings, and plans for a $20 billion steel plant. He bought the Queensland Nickel refinery in Townsville in 2009, only for it to close seven years later with the loss of 800 jobs.

Along the way, he bought the Hyatt Coolum Resort, added a dinosaur park and saw the resort fall into disuse.

He launched Palmer United, got himself elected in Fairfax and won three Senate spots before the party disintegrated.

But a favourable WA Supreme Court decision over CITIC helped propel him back to the top of Queensland's rich list in the past year.

Rising prices have lifted the value of his coal reserves and he is seeking approvals to build a mine bigger than Adani's Carmichael project.

He is also talking about reopening the Townsville refinery. And he has even flagged new political intentions with his United Australia Party planning to contest all seats at the next federal election.

Watch this space.