The State Government has forked out almost $40 million to support collapsed miner Griffin Coal amid continued uncertainty about the industry. Griffin sensationally hit the wall in September 2022 owing about $1.4 billion as the company battled private power utility Bluewaters. Just weeks later, WA’s only other coal miner suffered major production issues, forcing the Government to bring in supply from the east coast. The two supply shocks created a headache for the Government, as coal provides about 40 per cent of the power on the State’s main grid. The Government promised in December 2022 to underwrite Griffin’s receivership — which is being managed by Deloitte — and numbers released in State Parliament this week show a whopping $39.3m has been paid through that package so far. That money is used to keep the insolvent business operational and digging for coal. But the job has not been without challenges. The West Australian revealed in October that Sydney’s WLP Restructuring had taken over from Cor Cordis as Griffin’s liquidators amid a battle over whether the miner’s supply deals with Bluewaters could be ripped up. Deloitte has continued to run the miner as receiver. Shadow treasurer Steve Thomas said Griffin was losing about $4m a month this financial year. “No doubt we can expect to hand out $50m a year or more until the Cook Government gets its act together and finds a solution to the emerging disaster that is the WA coalfields,” he said, “This money is going to an insolvent company with debts of $1.5b and no capacity to pay it back, so it is $40m down the drain so far this year with no cap on how much more State money will be handed over and no chance of recouping it.” A growing team of consultants has been drawn in by the State Government to resolve the issue, including Sternship Advisers, KPMG, and most recently, Ashurst. KPMG was to be paid $250,000 for the work, according to WATenders, but new numbers show the bill will be close to $1m. “To date it appears that none of the many paid advisory companies have provided a solution to the problem of the coalfields despite the millions being paid to them,” Mr Thomas said. A spokesman for the State Government said the priority was to keep the lights on. “Our priority is keeping our electricity system stable and providing certainty for Collie workers, given the commercial challenges faced by the local coal industry,” he said. “We will continue to work with the parties to find a commercial solution to support longer term operations, and will provide an update on next steps in due course.” The Government plans to close publicly-owned coal power stations by the end of the decade, although the date for the Muja C unit was pushed back six months to April 2025 after a report by the Australian Energy Market Operator showed a looming shortage of electricity. News of the rising bill for Griffin comes weeks after fresh questions were raised about the price tag for the Government’s emergency dash to buy east coast coal late last year. Synergy has kept quiet on the cost, citing market rules, but industry sources have variously estimated a bill of $700 to $965 a tonne to buy the commodity, ship and truck to site. By mid-November, only 79,500t of the 103,000t shipped to WA last summer had been burned, according to numbers furnished to State Parliament. The east coast coal has a different chemical composition from local supply and was being blended at a rate of ten to one, the Legislative Council was told.