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Billionaire businessman Clive Palmer’s lawyer has confirmed $7 million has been paid into a trust account to pay workers laid off from his Townsville nickel refinery three years ago.

The principal of Alexander Law, Sam Iskander, told reporters in Townsville on Tuesday the money had been received and the legal firm would be processing the sacked workers’ claims.

Mr Iskander said 69 claims had already been made by former workers and the first payments were expected within 10 days.

Mr Palmer he said he expected there could be 335 claims in total during the four-month window to make a claim, after which the money would be returned to his company.

Earlier, Mr Palmer has said he would cover the $7.16 million still owed to former employees of Queensland Nickel once the federal election was over.

Mr Palmer has also said $66 million paid to former workers by the federal government should be paid by the administrators, who wound up the refinery.

His nephew, Clive Mensink, made 218 workers redundant just three days before he placed Queensland Nickel into voluntary administration in 2016.

It owed about $300 million in debts at the time.

Efforts to recover hundreds of millions of dollars owed by Queensland Nickel continue in court.

A trial to hear those claims has been set down for July 15.

Mr Palmer is now trying to get the Yabulu refinery back up and running, at a time when the price of nickel is rising.