The mainland's decision to cut tariffs for power plants is expected to squeeze coal prices even further, adding to problems facing struggling mining firms this year, an official with the country's coal association said. Mainland regulators cut power tariffs this month to reflect a decline in coal prices, defying industry warnings the measure would bring more grief to a sector already facing heavy losses. Jiang Zhimin, the vice-president of the China National Coal Association, told an industry meeting the move for a cut of two fen per kilowatt hour in on-grid power tariffs paid to coal-fired power plants could force miners to cut their prices by as much as 60 yuan (HK$76) per tonne. "There will be no change to the short-term business environment for coal, and it could even continue to decline in 2015," Jiang said in comments published on the association's website late on Friday. Severe oversupply has already led to a rapid fall in prices, with coal at Qinhuangdao port down more than 15 per cent this year despite concerted government efforts to curb output and deter imports. The coal industry is now waiting for regulators to slash value-added tax on coal production. However, traders and company officials said they did not expect the government to take further action to prop up the sector, and was unlikely to heed industry calls for a "minimum price". Coal consumption fell 2.9 per cent last year, in the first annual drop in 14 years, while production in the first three months of this year fell 3.5 per cent, as mines worked to scale back production in the face of weak demand.