Clive Palmer is suing Australia for more than $40 billion.
A company owned by the mining billionaire has begun action against the government after a dispute over mineral exploration permits.
Palmer’s Singapore-registered company Zeph Investments claims Australia broke the terms of a free-trade agreement with the ASEAN regional bloc.
The agreement relates to mineral exploration permits in Queensland’s Galilee Basin.
The permits in question are held by Waratah Coal, an Australian company also owned by Palmer.
The Attorney General’s department has insisted it will “vigorously defend the claim”.
The allegations were “unsubstantiated”, a spokesperson said.
According to documents released by the department, Zeph Investments provided the government with a notice of intention to sue on February 21.
A formal notice of arbitration was sent months later.
“On May 29, 2023, after this question was taken on notice, Zeph provided the department with a notice of arbitration formally commencing the arbitration that was the subject of the notice of intention,” the document said.
“Zeph alleges Australia has breached certain obligations owed to it under Chapter 11 of the Agreement Establishing the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area … Australia will vigorously defend the claim.
“The notice of arbitration indicates Zeph is claiming damages of approximately $41.3 billion. Zeph’s damages claim is unsubstantiated.”