China's refusal to finance Adani is a spanner in the works
ADANI'S quest to gain the financial backing necessary to launch its controversial Carmichael coal mine project just got a hell of a lot harder.
After concerted lobbying by former foreign minister and Director of the Australia China Relations Institute Bob Carr and prominent opponent of the mine Geoff Cousins, the Chinese embassy confirmed to Mr Carr that the divisive project would not be funded by Chinese banks.
The Morning Bulletin understands the Chinese company China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC) had been in discussions with Adani about financing the project in a $1 billion deal.
But after a concerted three-week campaign on behalf of the Australian Conservation Foundation against the "dirty coal mine” where Mr Carr told Chinese government and finance sector figures that the project was unpopular among the Australian people, the Chinese embassy stated on Tuesday that China would not fund Adani.
Mr Carr claimed in southern media he was told that "the relevant company will discontinue discussions with Adani over possible co-operation”.
"No Chinese financial institution will involve itself,” Mr Carr said.
"Moreover, the Adani coal mine has already been rejected by over 26 global financial institutions, including the four major Australian banks.”
Mr Cousins said he was told by the embassy that the mine was judged to be not commercially viable.
The Bank of China's Sydney branch, China Construction Bank, and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) have all either distanced themselves or ruled out their support for the Adani Carmichael mine project altogether.
The Chinese funding rejection was a significant blow to Adani on top of the Queensland Labor government's plan announced last month to veto a $1b loan from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility.
The Turnbull Government has lobbied hard over the years for the project, spearheaded by Trade Minister Steven Ciobo and Barnaby Joyce who had written to China's top economic regulator, the National Development and Reform Commission, in support of Chinese funding for the Adani project, saying it had received all the necessary government approvals.
Minister for Northern Australia Matt Canavan has attacked Mr Carr's efforts to derail Queensland's Adani mine project saying his stance was hypocritical given his support for the Chinese company Yancoal which bought Rio Tinto's coals mines in the Hunter Valley, New South Wales.
"Bob Carr is a hypocrite. He wants to stand in the way of a project that would create jobs in Central and North Queensland,” Senator Canavan said.
"But he's said nothing about Chinese investment in NSW coal mines.
"Why the double standard? And why is it ok for people in NSW to have coal jobs, but not people in Queensland?”
Senator Canavan expressed hopes that the Adani mine did proceed, but if it didn't, it would be "no thanks to the Labor Party”.
"Annastacia Palaszczuk has pulled the rug out from underneath the project by saying she'd veto any NAIF loan, and now her Labor mates are siding with the Greens and trying to stop the mine and stop the jobs altogether,” he said.
A spokesperson for the Queensland Premier reiterated the government's position on Adani.
"As the Premier has said repeatedly, this project needs to stack up on its own, and the proponents need get on with the job,” they said.
Capricornia MP Michelle Landry said she wholly supported the Adani project.
"It is disappointing to see ex labor foreign minister, Bob Carr overseas lobbying against job creating projects. It seems that he does not care about Central Queensland and the much needed jobs the project will create,” she said.
"Every business in Rockhampton and the surrounding region wants this project to go ahead as it is good for business, jobs and the local economy.
"This is evident by the real estate upturn which has been reported in local papers.”
Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce and a spokesman for Adani have been approached for comment on this story and will be added as they come to hand.