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Australia seeks confirmation of reported China coal import ban

The Australian government is seeking clarification from Beijing on reports that China has suspended purchases of Australian coal amid heightened diplomatic tensions between the two countries.

Chinese power stations and steel mills have been verbally told to immediately stop using Australian coal, people familiar with the order said Monday, asking not to be identified as the matter is private. Ports have also been told not to offload Australian coal, one of the people said. It isn’t clear when the latest import ban might end or how it might affect long-term contracts that are already in place.

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China is one of Australia's most important markets for coal exports [File: Ian Waldie/Bloomberg]

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