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Whitehaven falls to $47m loss

Lower coal prices and delays to operations have caused Whitehaven Coal to post a $47 million first half loss.

The NSW-focussed miner's result in the six months to December 31 was down from a $19.9 million profit in the previous corresponding period.

"Whitehaven's first half performance has suffered from a number of adverse impacts on the business, the most significant being weak coal prices and a strong Australian dollar," outgoing chief executive Tony Haggarty said in a statement.

The company was also impacted by a train derailment and maintenance at its Sunnyside mine.

Mr Haggarty, who last week announced he would resign in March, said the company was reviewing its operations to identify ways of further reducing costs and improving its revenue.

The value of Whitehaven's coal has also been negatively affected by a high moisture content in coal from its Narrabri mine, reducing its energy.

That coal has to be sold in lower-priced coal markets.

The high moisture content was expected to persist into the second half of the financial year, although an improvement was expected in the final three months, Whitehaven said on Tuesday.

The benchmark price of its Newcastle semi-soft coking coal had remained stable at around $US113.50 per tonne in the three months to December, and that was expected to continue in the three months to the end of March, the company said.

About 1.4 million tonnes of coal were expected to be sold to existing customers over the year, but winning new business at reasonable prices was difficult, it said.

But the company upgraded its total coal resources by two per cent to 3.788 billion tonnes.

No interim dividend is to be paid to shareholders.