Among the international banks that might finance Adani’s massive Carmichael coal mine, and the associated rail line and port development, the most significant is probably Standard Chartered of the UK, currently Adani’s largest lender outside India. The media is providing mixed messages here.
Standard Chartered has announced its intention to “review” its involvement, stating, according to the Financial Times that
We will go no further with this until we are fully satisfied with the environmental impact of this project.
The chairman added that
He added that the bank was in “active dialogue” with the Australian government about the issue.
I’d normally read this as a euphemism for “we are going to pull the plug, like everyone else”, except that the Fin reports that the bank is.
running a now fairly discreet process because of the line-in-the-sand assault by the environmental defenders on banks that support coal
We’ll find out soon enough, I guess, given that Adani claims that it will start dredging in September. But given that the previous CEO and Chairman were forced out a few months ago, mainly because of bad loans to mining companies, it’s hard to see what the bank could gain by extending more credit to a venture that’s both financially marginally and politically toxic, or how it can claim to have satisfied itself on the environmental impact of a mine that will contribute as much to global warming as all but a handful of national economies. Surely they don’t believe that they will please anybody by announcing that the Abbott government has assured them that everything is fine.