More than $300m was temporarily knocked off the value of Nathan Tinkler’s mining firm yesterday after numerous media outlets and the AAP reported on a fake press release sent to them by an anti-coal mining protester.
The release, with an ANZ bank logo, claimed the bank had pulled $1.6bn in funding for a coal mine in NSW, sending investors into a panic over the state of the Whitehaven Coal, dumping shares.
It has been claimed as a PR victory by the group behind the hoax, Front Line Action on Coal, with activist Jonathan Moylan claiming responsibility for the stunt.
He told the Australian Financial Review, which was one of the first to report the story: “This issue is a lot bigger than me. Throughout history big change occurs when people stand up and they take risks.
“We’re not going to be able to tackle a problem as immense as this just by signing a few petitions. We really need to have an impact.”
Moylan told The Australian he had received just one media call trying to verify the accuracy of the release.
It is the third listed company to be struck by false emails in the last six months, with David Jones shares climbing after rumours of a takeover, and mining services company Macmahon Holdings suspending trading amid an email chain reporting a takeover.
Shares in Whitehaven climbed back to close just below where they opened after the company issued a corrective statement with ANZ to the ASX.