Clive Palmer’s company has won a claim for US$150 million in unpaid royalties from foreign interests.

Businessman and political figure Clive Palmer's company Mineralogy won the Supreme Court claim against two Citic Pacific subsidiaries - Sino Iron and Korean Steel - over a Pilbara iron ore project.

But the road is long and the ruling does not mean the money will be paid, as Justice Kenneth Martin has only conceded that Mineralogy's claim over the US$149.4 million has been established.

Claims by Mr Palmer's company against Citic — as guarantor for Sino and Korean debts — have not been determined.

Citic paid Mr Palmer US$415 million in a 2006 deal to take over the project included, as well as two different forms of royalties to Mineralogy.

The US$150 million court claim relates to Citic refusal to pay the second royalty, known as Royalty B.

Citic argued the payment was linked to the benchmark pricing system for iron ore, which was fixed at the time.

Because it was abandoned for the current spot price system in 2010, Citic said it should not have to pay the royalty.

Mineralogy said its agreement with Citic did not mention the benchmark system, and that the different spot prices could be used to determine royalties.

Justice Martin accepted that the agreement did exclusively refer to the benchmark system.

“He accepted that the phrase referred to prevailing published prices for the two iron ore products which are still actively traded on a daily basis in the international iron ore market,” the judgment summary said.

The court concluded that a Royalty B payment rate could be ascertained using the spot market price.

But the payment has been delayed by the fact that a position on Citic as guarantor of Sino and Korean's debts must be the subject of “further submissions by the parties concerning Mineralogy's failure to date to formally plead out the written demands it had issued to Citic ... for it to pay the (Royalty B) amounts not yet paid to Mineralogy by Sino Iron and Korean Steel”.

Depending on how it is calculated, it means Mr Palmer could be owed hundreds of millions of dollars more over the future production life of the Pilbara project.

It would be a big boost to the embattled mining magnate, after his company Queensland Nickel which went into administration in 2016 with $300 million in debts and left more than 800 people out of work.

More hearings are planned for next week.