Contractor CMC had its application for an indemnity for its court costs rejected after a lengthy battle with WICET.
Contractor CMC had its application for an indemnity for its court costs rejected after a lengthy battle with WICET. Mara Pattison-Sowden

Contractor's plea for court cost help rejected

MINING contractor Civil Mining and Construction will pay its court costs after a six-year battle with Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal.

The construction company had its application for indemnity of its court costs rejected last Friday, after it was forced in March to pay WICET $2.94 million.

The battle which ended with both parties exchanging millions of dollars was over payments related to delays and disruptions during construction of the Gladstone terminal.

WICET was ordered to pay CMC $3.56 million plus GST last month for earthworks, piling and environmental management disputes.

In June last year Justice Peter Flanagan ordered the coal terminal to pay CMC $4.086 million for disruptions.

Supreme Court Justice Philip McMurdo rejected CMC's application for an indemnity certificate pursuant to s 15 of the Appeal Costs Fund Act 1973 because the company's conduct fell short of what was expected during a trial.

Describing what led to the appeal and application for indemnity as "unusual" Justice McMurdo said the company veered from what was common ground on its on-site overheads when it attempted to advance a new case at the trial.

"As this court held, it was CMC's belated adoption of a different concept of on-site overheads that required further evidence and thereby necessitated the re-opening of CMC's case," he said last Friday.

"It is true that it was the judge who first raised the necessity for CMC to re-open its case ... But in no way was CMC forced to do so.

"CMC's conduct fell short of what is required of a party in the proper conduct of a case at trial, particularly by a well-resourced party in substantial commercial litigation."

Meanwhile the five miner owners of Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal continue to explore ways to solve its $3.5 billion debt to about 20 lenders.



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