The Australian Taxation Office is understood to be considering a second wind-up action against Griffin Coal in as many years as the financial crisis engulfing the loss-making Collie coal miner intensifies.
A day after it emerged that production at Griffin had again been stopped because of a row over payments between the mine's contractor and Griffin's Indian parent Lanco Infratech, it is thought the tax office has become more concerned about its exposure to the Collie operation.
A wind-up application by the tax office would be the second such move in a week, after another Commonwealth agency - the Bureau of Meteorology - applied to have Griffin liquidated over an alleged $45,000 debt.
It would also follow similar moves by the tax office last year, when it sought to have Griffin wound up after the miner failed to pay a tax bill worth about $14 million.
The tax office yesterday declined to comment on the reports of the latest application, saying it was banned from discussing individual cases by confidentiality provisions in its Act.
Despite the uncertainty, the shut down at Griffin entered its second day yesterday after Carna Civil and Mining - the contractor running the mine - ordered workers off the job on Monday.
At issue is an allegedly unpaid debt owed to Carna by Lanco, which paid $830 million in 2010 to buy the coal operation from fallen coal tycoon Ric Stowe's failed business empire.
_WestBusiness _understands Griffin attempted to pay Carna last week but its efforts were stymied by India's central bank, which has been cracking down on big cash transfers since new Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power vowing to target corruption.
With production at the mine stopped, there are concerns over whether power station Bluewaters could be forced to step in and take over.
Bluewaters' coal reserves have barely recovered since they were depleted during the last shutdown at Griffin in August.
Under the Bluewaters agreement with Griffin, the generator has rights to appoint a receiver to run the mine if its coal supplies are threatened.
It is believed this "default level" could be reached within days.