Adani’s Australian mine may not “go ahead” after state election

Already struggling with finances, Adani’s coal mine wouldn’t get a $900 million loan needed to build a railway link from the coast to the mine

Bank Track
Bank Track

Dhairya Maheshwari

The incumbent Australian Labor Party (ALP) is well on way to form government in Queensland, a result that casts shadow on Adani Group’s proposed $16.5 billion coal mine in the state’s north.

While the final results of the November 25 vote are yet to be declared, the ALP was leading as counting resumed on Monday with more than three-fourth of the polled votes having been counted. Labor had secured 43 seats by Sunday night, four short of majority in the 93-seat state Parliament. Thirteen seats are yet to be called, according to a report in The Australian.

One of the poll pledges of Queensland’s Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk was to veto a $900 million federal loan to the Indian business conglomerate, with an opinion poll finding that 68 per cent of the voters didn’t favour a government handout for the coal mine.

Australia’s Resources Minister Matt Canavan on Sunday also expressed doubt over the future of the Carmichael coal mine as the state election results started to come in. “The Queensland government can veto, they're in their rights to do it,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

Said to be a strong backer of Adani’s project, which otherwise has faced countrywide protests over its potential environmental fallouts, Canavan stated that Palaszczuk’s decision to veto the loan would mean that the mine wouldn’t “go ahead.”

The $900-million loan being sought by the Adani Group will be used to construct a railway line from the coal mine, located in the Galilee Basin, to the coast, which is 300 km away.

All four major banks in Australia have refused lending for the project. One of the Big Four banks, Westpac, had in April this year come up with a climate policy that prohibits financing thermal coal projects.

Strapped of finances, Adani is reportedly looking for investors in China. Reuters reported on Sunday that the Adani Group was in talks with the China Machinery Engineering Corp (CMEC).

The Adani Group has invested $3.4 billion in a nearby port and on the mine, as of August 2017. However, the loan from Australia’s Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility is seen as crucial for the project to take off. Gautam Adani has said that the first shipment of coal from the mine would take place in 2020.

The Adani Group couldn’t be reached for comment for this story.

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Published: 27 Nov 2017, 2:44 PM