Adani coalmine: ANZ chief suggests bank would not finance Carmichael project
Chief executive reportedly says bank’s exposure to coalmining is small and ‘I can’t see a time where we’d suddenly see that trend shift’
By Elle Hunt
ANZ bank’s chief executive has in effect ruled out helping finance the Adani group’s proposed multibillion-dollar Carmicheal coalmine project in Queensland, reports suggest.
The Weekend Australian reported on Saturday that Shayne Elliott had said the bank’s exposure to coalmining had halved to about $1.5bn over the past two years and that he foresaw that downward trend continuing.
“It’s pretty small and trending down and I can’t see a time where we’d suddenly see that trend shift, to be honest.”
The bank held its annual meeting in Melbourne on Friday. Elliott did not specifically rule out funding for Carmicheal, but ANZ’s 2016 corporate sustainability review addressed the need to move away from coal and expressed support for new electricity generation projects.
“Our customers mining for coal, oil and gas, as well as those in coal-fired electricity generation, and related industries, are increasingly exposed and may experience transition risk as a result of decreasing demand for fossil fuels and increasing demand for clean energy. We encourage customers in these sectors to plan for, and start making, the necessary changes for climate adaptation.”
The bank’s exposure to resources such as coal, oil and gas had decreased by 10% in 2016. “Our portfolio is skewed towards well-capitalised and lower-cost resource producers. Twenty-two per cent of the book is for loans of less than one-year duration.”
ANZ had not directly funded any new coal-fired power generation projects in 2016, though it had assessed a number of proposals.
National Australia Bank ruled out financing the Carmicheal mine in September last year.
On Wednesday, the deputy prime minister, Barnaby Joyce, endorsed a concessional loan for the project in order to “get the thing built and get the money flowing”.
But the treasurer, Scott Morrison, refused to comment on whether the project should win support from the government’s Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund.
Senior Nationals are in favour of the project receiving $1bn from the fund for a 388km railway line to service the mine.