Conservationists are calling on Australia’s banks to follow their French counterparts in refusing to fund proposed coal mines in Queensland’s Galilee Basin.
Major French banks BNP Paribas, Societe Generale, and Credit Agricole have written to campaign group Market Forces pledging not to fund the development of the Galilee.
Indian giant Adani has proposed to build the $16.5 billion Carmichael mine in the region and export at least 50 million tonnes of coal a year through the Abbot Point terminal, north of Bowen.
The plans are currently the subject of a legal challenge mounted by conservation group Coast and Country in Queensland’s land court.
The decision of the three French banks is telling, according to Greens Senator Christine Milne.
“These French banks are some of the world’s biggest coal industry lenders and even they can see that investing in the Galilee Basin coal mines is environmentally and financially reckless,” she said on Thursday.
The trio join another eight international banks that have stepped away from the projects, she said.
“This leaves Adani, which is already mortgaged to the hilt, with very few options to finance the Carmichael mine and Abbot Point coal port expansion.”
Greenpeace and the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC) echoed Ms Milne’s call for Australia’s banks to follow suit.
But Adani had not formally requested any financing from the three institutions and therefore the news had no bearing on the company, a spokesman said.
“Adani’s projects in Queensland comply with the strictest environmental conditions in a world’s best practice environmental approvals framework,” he said.
“The company continues to progress the financing arrangements for its projects in Australia.”