Serious concerns are emerging that embattled Collie coal miner Griffin could collapse amid losses worth millions of dollars a month and major problems with its Indian parent company.
Financial records lodged with the Indian stock exchange by Lanco Infratech show Griffin Coal lost almost $18 million in the three months to June 30 as revenue slumped on the previous quarter.
The results are the latest bad news to hit the company, which has been spurned by aggrieved suppliers and bogged down in legal disputes with groups, including the Australian Taxation Office, over unpaid bills.
They also raise fresh doubts over the security of Perth's electricity supplies going into summer given the strategic importance of Griffin coal.
Griffin provides coal to the Japanese-owned Bluewaters power station, which supplies about 10 per cent of the electricity entering the South West grid.
In a sign of its escalating troubles, Griffin's mine manager Graham Cleggett was shown the door last week.
David Trench, Griffin's general manager of project development and corporate relations, acknowledged the miner had been losing money since it was bought in 2010 from the vestiges of Ric Stowe's collapsed business empire.
But Mr Trench denied suggestions Griffin's workforce, which he said numbered about 450, needed to be dramatically pared back to bring costs closer into line with revenue.
He insisted the miner's fortunes could be turned around in several ways, starting with an interim plan to ship coal in boxes to Asia through Bunbury by February. He said the move could generate up to $80 million a year.
Longer term, he said, Griffin wanted to push ahead with bulk exports out of Bunbury, though he conceded this would be expensive and could take years.
"Is it tough, absolutely," he said. "It's a tough business. The interim exports are critical and it has to happen because it's a simple process.
"The only pathway to survival is to look for alternate markets, which is overseas.
"But we've got more than one iron in the fire and my job is to make sure we've got options."
Adding to Griffin's woes are the growing troubles at Lanco, which is trying to refinance billions of dollars in debt but has reportedly failed to pay hundreds of its staff for up to four months.
Collie Labor MP Mick Murray said Griffin's situation was increasingly weighing on the town as people worried about the job prospects of staff employed at the mine.
Mr Murray also said rumours were rife that Griffin was frequently unable to pay its invoices and that many suppliers, including some local small businesses, were refusing to deal with it."At the moment they're virtually running the mine on cash on demand," Mr Murray said.