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Clive Palmer | Updated: 8:00:35 AM, Tuesday May 29, 2012 Clive Palmer
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Clive Palmer

 Born:  1954, Melbourne, VIC, Australia  Educated:  Arts law and journalism, University of Queensland – not completed  Occupation:  Real Estate, Mining  Net worth:  $3.85 billion    Ranked 8 on the BRW Rich 200 list  Spouse  Sue (deceased)    Anna  Children  Michael    Emily    Mary  Parents:  George    Nancy  Siblings:  Jean  Nationality  Australian

Top of the ladder

It’s fair to say Clive Palmer is doing better than Gold Coast United FC, his former A-League football club which has been much in the press of late. As it currently stands, Palmer has been stripped of his licence by Football Federation Australia (FFA), a legal stoush is in the making and heated words have been exchanged between him and fellow billionaire Frank Lowy.

And while Gold Coast United FC languishes at the foot of the A-League ladder, Palmer on the other hand is near the top of the Australian rich list. He has dined with Putin, retired at age 29, un-retired a few years later and owns a private jet. Unlike Gold Coast United, Clive Palmer is travelling very well indeed.

Palmer kicks off

Clive Palmer was born in Victoria but it’s in Queensland where he struck gold. Palmer, a better than average scholar in his early years, studied journalism for a short time at the University of Queensland before abandoning his studies and moving into the real estate industry on the Gold Coast. Good move, better timing. In the early 1980s, the Coast was going through a property boom and Palmer’s switch from the Fourth Estate to real estate at this time paid dividends. So well did he do that he was able to retire at age 29 with millions in the bank.

After seeing the world, and presumably it was business class all the way, Palmer returned home and became the media manager for the Queensland National Party. However it wasn’t long before Palmer was looking at greener pastures in the heat and dust of the Western Australian desert.

Palmer scores

In the mid 1980s, Palmer established three companies dealing mostly in oil trading and mining in Western Australia, and that’s where his millions became billions. Iron ore was and is at the core of his business, and it was iron ore that he sold to China in huge amounts. His supply continues to meet their massive demands, and when you consider that his mining company, Mineralogy, has secured the rights to more than 160 billion tonnes of iron ore in the Pilbara region one can expect Palmer’s wealth to grow exponentially.

The 2011 BRW Rich List stated his wealth at just over five billion dollars, and that is widely regarded as a conservative estimate. While Clive Palmer undoubtedly rakes it in, he also has no qualms in giving it away, with hundreds of millions of dollars being donated to charitable causes over the years, particularly towards medical research and impoverished communities in Western Australia.

Full time

If you were ever to run into Clive Palmer at an A-League match, you might want to address him as Professor Palmer. In 2002, Deakin University appointed Palmer as an Associate Professor of Business, and he gave a series of illuminating and well-received lectures under that title. Smart chap, with an undoubtedly brilliant brain for business. If only he could sort out what was wrong with Gold Coast United FC.


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By: Dana Flannery
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