Whitehaven Coal posts loss, moves to cut expenditure

Whitehaven Coal is viewing its expenditure on future projects as the company posted a net loss of $47 million.

Outgoing chief Tony Haggarty hit out at regulators who he says fail to understand the tough conditions facing miners.

Haggarty, who last week resigned from the top job, said conditions had not been this bad in ten years, The Australian reported.

"The (Whitehaven) underlying margin is close to nothing, so it certainly highlights how difficult it is for the rest of the market," Haggarty said.

"It's pretty bad. The last time we saw this situation was around 2001-2003. It was a good 10 years ago."

The NSW-based miner posted a loss of $47 million in the six months to December. In the same period last year the company made a profit of $19.9 million.

Haggarty said regulatory burdens were hurting the industry.

"The regulatory burden is relentlessly increasing for no improved outcomes," Haggarty said.

"I just see more uncertainty, cost and delay and a lot of duplication and bureaucracy.

"It's difficult for politicians and bureaucrats to understand the gravity of the impact of those things. They underestimate the negative impact it has on investor sentiment and that's a real problem."

Haggarty flagged cost-cutting measures similar to that of last year which resulted in mine closures and job cuts.

The Maules Creek project would still proceed pending final government approva, but Haggarty said all other capital works were under review.

"These decisions are not simple as we have take or pay commitments, which has a significant bearing on any decision to scale back," he said.

Image: SBS

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