Asciano open to contract talks: report

Group open to contract discussions with miners on reports mines being run at a loss.

Asciano (AIO) chief executive John Mullen has expressed a willingness to engage in discussions with coal miners over their rail contracts amid reports some of the the world's biggest resources companies are running their Australian mines at a loss because the fixed costs of rail contracts mean leaving the mine operational is more cost-effective than closing it, The Australian Financial Review reports.

According to the newspaper, Mr Mullen said the group had  held  "positive and fruitful discussions with a number of important customers" about take-or-pay contracts with miners.

Earlier, The AFR reported Anglo American chief executive Mark Cutifani said the group's Australian executives were trying to renegotiate such key contracts with the likes of Aurizon and Mr Mullen's Asciano, urged the rail operators to find ways to cut the costs of such coal haulage contracts.

"One would hope you could look at different arrangements," he said, according to the AFR.

"We’ve got to see some flexibility to support the industry or there is no industry. My guys are working hard on the ­contracts we have. We hope to see some movement for the sake of the whole industry."

Mr Cutifani confirmed Anglo American was one of the companies running some mines at a loss, noting that many of its contracts were struck when coal prices were "ugl

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