Whitehaven says media release that sinks shares 9 pct a hoax

Sun Jan 6, 2013 9:23pm EST

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SYDNEY Jan 7 (Reuters) - Whitehaven Coal Ltd said a media release suggesting Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd had withdrawn an A$1.2 billion ($1.25 billion) loan that sent its shares tumbling almost 9 percent was a hoax.

Whitehaven said ANZ had confirmed it did not send the release, which said the bank had withdrawn the loan facility to develop the Maules Creek coal mine.

Shares in Whitehaven dropped as low as A$3.21 before the company requested a trading halt. They were at A$3.31, down 6 percent, at 0211 GMT.

($1 = 0.9566 Australian dollars)

(Reporting By Jane Wardell; Editing by Matt Driskill)

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