Australian embassy officials are looking for urgent clarification for Australian ban imports in five ports in north east China, in the case of fears that the move could be a political motivation.
The Minister of Trade, Simon Birmingham, said for the Thursday night estimates hearing, he had asked Australia Ambassadors to China, Jan Adams, to investigate.
"We continue to engage closely with the industry on market access issues … China is a valuable partner in Australia and we trust our Free trade agreement commitments continue to be honored. "
Senator Birmingham said he had met the Mineral Council in the last week to discuss the matter.
Department of Trade and Foreign Affairs officials said at the hearing that they had been aware of the industry's concerns about market access for weeks, but were not able to get confirmation from Beijing.
"I know that this is a very serious issue," said Graham Fletcher of the DFAT. "There are market implications in terms of currency. Just in the last couple of hours, it is clear that the uncertainty that is available has a real effect."
Coal is Australia's biggest export winner and the Australian dollar came to the news, dropping more than 1 percent to $ 0.7086.
Reuters said that five portions are overseen by Dalian's customs – Dalian, Bayuquan, Panjin, Dandong and Beiliang will not allow Australia's coal to clear through customs. Coal imports from Russia and Indonesia will not be affected.
The unspecified ban on imports of the Australian mains supplier, which is effective since the beginning of February, comes as important ports elsewhere in China extending clearing times for Australia coal at least 40 day.
The ban finds tensions between Beijing and Canberra on issues such as cyber-induction and China's influence in the Pacific Islands island. Recently, Australia abolished visa a prominent Chinese businessman, fight further further.
It was asked if the ban was associated with bilateral tensions, Geng Shuang, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, said that the practices explore and experience coal imports for safety and quality.
"The aims are to better protect Chinese rights and interests of Chinese importers and protect the environment," he says, adding that the move is "absolutely normal".
Beijing has been trying to restrict imports of coal more generally to support domestic prices.
The ports handled about 14 million tonnes of coal last year, and half of it from Australia, according to Gu Meng, an analyst at Orient Futures.
Australia's clogged coal in the north of China Jingtang port at $ 42 is cheaper per tonne or domestic prices, according to data and tracked by Orient Futures. Thermal coal prices are the same.
Dalian treats thermal coal and knife imports but the clampdown is expected to have a greater impact on coating locks compared to thermal coal. The first is used in steel making, while the latter is used to generate electricity.
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"It's hard to find a place to lock Australia's clogging because its sulfur content is very low," said a purchasing manager in a large charcoal plant in Hebei Province.
"The current list in ports should be sufficient to support the usage for one or two months, but it may be a problem in the long term, especially if other ports also tighten imports," he added.
He refused to be named because of the company's policy.
The most active solar coal contract for May rose more than 2 per cent in the morning on Thursday.
"[The restriction] pushes further profit margins in steel mills after the Vale crashes already iron price prices, "said Mr Gu in Orient Futures.
Additional reports from AAP and Reuters