Construction group Roche has hit back at Iluka Resources over claims made yesterday by the mineral sands miner concerning a contract dispute between the two. Roche had submitted claims for variations, extensions of time and additional payments to Iluka under the contract for the Douglas Mineral Sands project in Victoria, in the period leading up to Christmas 2005. Iluka rejected the claims made by Roche on the grounds that they were without factual or contractual merit, were not supported by proper documentation, and in addition were submitted outside the contractually stipulated period for such claims. Roche have countered, saying that the claims are based on factual circumstances including that Iluka had requested numerous and substantial variations to the scope of the works, and that Iluka had delayed the approval of sub-contractors.Roche also pointed to delays in the review of plans and proposals it says were caused by Iluka, and conditions beyond the control of Roche, including industrial conditions and the supply of key materials that were set out in the contractFurther, Roche said that in bringing the claims to the attention of Iluka, it had paid due attention to the terms of the contract under which it is operating. Roche said the factors above had led to the project incurring additional costs and a delay in completion beyond that originally contemplated in the contract, and whilst Iluka have been in dialogue with Roche over these matters, it has not dealt with them in a way which could resolve the issues. The final contract sum and contract completion schedule will be affected by the resolution of these matters and Roche has advised Iluka that it is preparing additional variations and claims which it will submit shortly. Meanwhile, Roche will continue to explore means to bring this matter to a successful conclusion including through the prescribed dispute resolution process.
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