South32 deny coal import rumours

South32 has denied rumours it plans to import coal after the State Government said it would block any such attempts in the South-West.

This month, rumours spread that South32 was in the early stages of developing a proposal to import coal through Bunbury Port.

Local coal: South32 says it will continue to work with Griffin Coal to help support its recovery from recent events.

Local coal: South32 says it will continue to work with Griffin Coal to help support its recovery from recent events.

The rumours were understood to stem from questions surrounding Griffin Coal's production, given its long-term financial issues.

However, a South32 spokesman denied the rumours this week, saying the mining giant was continuing to work with Griffin Coal to help support its recovery from recent events.

"We are committed to sourcing coal for Worsley Alumina from local providers where it is available and have no plans to import coal at this time," he said.

"There has been no impact on Worsley as we have multiple avenues through which we procure our energy requirements and have sufficient inventory at this time."

It is understood when the State Government heard there was a proposal to import coal, it informed South 32 that state approvals for coal imports would not be given.

A spokesman for Energy Minister Bill Johnston said while the State Government had not received any formal application, any such proposals were off the table.

"The State Government will not allow the importation of coal into the WA market. We fully support our domestic producers and the thousands of direct and indirect local jobs they provide.

"While the State Government has not received a formal proposal for coal to be imported, we want to make it clear no such applications will be approved.

"Collie industry is vitally important to the jobs future of the South-West, and the McGowan Government is fully committed to ensuring its sustainability."

The prospect of Indonesian coal imports were also raised in 2014, when the Electricity Market Review Discussion Paper suggested imports could bring down domestic prices.

Griffin Coal did not respond to requests for comment in time for print.