Bank says Abbot Point Coal Terminal 'not their business'
US BANK Morgan Stanley will not invest in the Abbot Point development - but not because of environmental worries.
Morgan Stanley has been named in reports as having reconsidered funding the development due to environmental concerns. However, in a statement they told APN they were not investing in Abbot Point because "providing greenfield project financing in Australia" was not their business.
US-based environmental group the Rainforest Action Network said US banks, including Citibank, Goldman Sachs, and JPMorgan Chase, would not fund the port due to environmental concerns.
The network's climate and energy program director Amanda Starbuck said she was pleased the banks were not funding the port.
"These banks have clearly taken a good look at the Abbot Point plan and decided that dredging a World Heritage Site to make way for coal ships is obviously a terrible idea," she said.
A Morgan Stanley spokesman said funding projects like Abbot Point was not how the bank did business.
"In the case of the various Galilee Basin coal, rail and port developments, we have not looked at these projects in any detail nor have we assessed or opined on the environmental considerations surrounding them," he said.
"We are simply not in the business of providing greenfield project financing in Australia and therefore, as we have stated, we will not lend to, or invest in, these projects."
Mining company Adani, a key Abbot Point proponent, said funding from the banks listed had never been sought and said the port was not in a World Heritage Area.
"The premise that institutions who have not been asked to provide funding, have no insight into our projects, and have not studied the details, have declined to or distanced themselves from involvement is rejected," a spokesman said.
"Morgan Stanley Australia has confirmed to Adani… that they have not examined any of the Galilee Basin projects' fundamentals, nor made any assessment of the environmental or regulatory contexts."
GVK Hancock, Abbot Point's other major investor, corporate affair manager Josh Euler said Morgan Stanley was not involved in current funding proposals.
"The proposed expansion of the existing Abbot Point port has been the subject of a comprehensive environmental assessment process, which formed the basis of stringent environmental approvals from State and Federal Governments," Mr Euler said.
"Any work undertaken to develop our terminal at the existing Abbot Point Port will meet all obligations relating to responsible environmental and social management practices as outlined in the Equator Principles."
- APN NEWSDESK