Adani digs in despite Westpac's new coal rules
ADANI remains "fervently committed” to mining the Galilee Basin despite Westpac changing its climate policy to rule out lending to the proposed mine.
Westpac on Friday updated its climate change action plan, stating it would limit thermal coal project lending to areas with the highest quality coal and only lend to "existing coal producing basins”.
All other major Australian banks and lenders had already ruled out supporting the mine.
Environmentalists praised the decision, stating it meant Carmichael would not qualify. But Adani said coal from Carmichael would "easily meet” Westpac's new emissions standard.
Westpac chief Brian Hartzer said the bank planned to reduce its lending to high-emission power producers.
"Westpac recognises that climate change is an economic issue as well as an environmental issue, and banks have an important role to play in assisting the Australian economy to transition to a net zero emissions economy,” Mr Hartzer said.
"In addition, we will limit lending to new thermal coal projects, to existing coal producing basins only, and where the energy content of the coal ranks in the top 15% globally.”
But an Adani spokesman said the company remained committed to developing the Galilee Basin.
"The Carmichael mine will produce thermal coal that easily meets the emissions standards announced by Westpac Bank,” the spokesman said.
"Adani's resolve is despite Westpac and other Australian financial houses choosing to ignore the opportunity to invest in Carmichael that will inject 10,000 direct and indirect jobs into regional Queensland's economy, which reflects Adani's 'Nation Building' ethos.
"The financial houses have, instead, chosen to bow to environmental activists. In so doing, they have chosen to continue to invest in overseas coal projects that will generate jobs in those countries at the expense of Australians, many of whom are their investors and depositors.”
Northern Australia Minister Matt Canavan called on Queenslanders to back banks that would lend to Adani.
"I would encourage Queenslanders in particular, but all Australians who are interested in nation-developing and developing the north, to back those financial institutions that have those priorities,” Mr Canavan said.
"When they make decisions like this without even consulting people who are potentially affected by it, it does beggar belief how they can continue to call themselves Australian.”
Environmental Justice Australia lawyer David Barnden said the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund must follow the bank's lead and rule out giving Adani $1 billion to build a mine-to-port rail line.
"NAIF must have regard to the best practice of Australian commercial financiers like Westpac when it makes its decisions,” Mr Barnden said.