The huge Carmichael coal mine that India’s Adani Enterprises wants to develop in northern Australia may have just lost its last best hope for financing, after several Chinese banks and the Chinese embassy in Canberra all ruled that country out as a source of funding for the US$4 billion undertaking.
The Indian company backing the project has struggled to find financing. After striking out with Australian banks, it turned to China for the funds. But at the end of November one major commercial lender, China Construction Bank, turned Adani down. Within days, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), the world’s largest bank by assets, stepped away as well, the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) writes, “By December 5, the Bank of China had done so as well, becoming the 27th commercial bank to rule out Carmichael project participation.”
Australia’s rabidly pro-fossil Liberal-National party coalition has offered Adani up to A$1 billion (US$770 million) in financing for the mine, but its tireless support for coal has become politically charged in the country. In November, the Labour Party campaigning for re-election in Queensland—where the mine would be developed—said it would block the completion of any such project if it were returned to power. On November 25, it won the majority of seats in the Queensland legislative assembly.
“It is hard to see who else at this point Adani can turn to,” IEEFA writes. “That said, founder Gautam Adani built his business empire up from nothing because of his ability to improvise during periods of difficulty. There may yet be more twists and turns to the Carmichael story.”