For the past three years, MinterEllison has represented Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal Pty Ltd (WICET) in one of the largest construction disputes seen in Australia with Monadelphous Engineering Pty Ltd and Muhibbah Construction Pty Ltd (MMM).
Led by partners Andrew Orford, Tom Fletcher and Julie Whitehead, the MinterEllison team handled claims totalling A$1.1bn in dispute.
It is a coal export terminal recently constructed in Queensland that provides 27 million tonnes per annum of new export capacity from the Port of Gladstone. The terminal is privately owned by a consortium of Australian and international resources companies (Wesfarmers, Glencore, Yancoal, Aquila and New Hope).
The project involved the construction of a 1.8km approach jetty, along with the construction and commissioning of associated ship berth and loading capabilities.
The MinterEllison team acted for WICET in relation to hundreds of complex and interrelated delay and variation claims by MMM, advanced by way of applications for interim payment (adjudication) and final determination (Supreme Court).
MinterEllison also steered WICET through multiple related proceedings in the Queensland Supreme Court and Court of Appeal, including in relation to resisting injunctions to restrain conversion of bank guarantees, restraining breaches of confidentiality and seeking review of adjudication decisions. The disputes were high profile and gained significant media attention – assisting the client to manage those aspects was particularly challenging.
To manage the breadth and complexity of the disputes , MinterEllison called on its considerable expertise across multiple practices, including Projects, Infrastructure and Construction, Dispute Resolution, Insurance, Human Resources, Tax and Project Services.
Out of the claims arose the largest single claim for interim payments in Australia to be run through the security of payment legislation to date (in excess of A$400 million), and four other very significant security of payment claims, which were valued in the hundreds of millions.
In September 2016, MinterEllison was pleased to report that WICET has now resolved all disputes with MMM. The resolution of these disputes means that WICET can now transform from a project and realise its vision to be a state of the art coal export terminal servicing its owners.