Whitehaven puts shares in halt

Whitehaven Coal shares have plunged six per cent following a hoax announcement on funding for its Maules Creek project with the prank costing company owner Nathan Tinkler around $314 million.

The coal miner was the victim of a hoax press release on Monday, claiming to be from the ANZ Bank stating that it had cancelled its $1.2 billion loan facility to Whitehaven to fund its Maules Creek project.

The release actually came from anti-coal mining activists and carried the ANZ logo and the details of the banks communication staff at the bottom.

The company's shares plunged six per cent in response to $3.31.

Whitehaven had its shares placed in a halt which is expected to be lifted on Monday.

The ANZ Bank on Monday also confirmed the notice was a fake.

The hoax press release had ANZ's head of corporate sustainability, Toby Kent, citing non-economic factors, saying the group wanted customers to be assured that it would not be investing in coal projects that cause significant dislocation of farmers, unacceptable damage to the environment, or social conflict.

"The decision to withdraw our loan facility has been made after a careful analysis of reputational risks and analysis of the returns on this mine in the current climate of high volatility in the coal export market," the fake statement had Kent as saying.

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