Adani fumes af­ter Stan­dard char­tered exit

The China Post - - WORLD BUSINESS -

In­dian firm Adani Tues­day ac­cused en­vi­ron­men­tal ac­tivists of ex­ploit­ing le­gal loop­holes to stall a mas­sive Aus­tralian coal mine, af­ter Stan­dard Char­tered bank with­drew as a fi­nan­cial ad­viser to the pro­ject.

An Aus­tralian court last week re­voked gov­ern­ment ap­proval for the AU$16.5 bil­lion (US$12.1 bil­lion) Carmichael coal mine, which could have be­come one of the world’s big­gest.

The Bri­tish bank said Mon­day the de­ci­sion to cut ties was made amid a re­view of the bal­ance be­tween the need for energy gen­er­a­tion in de­vel­op­ing coun­tries and their en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact.

“As a re­sult of this on­go­ing re­view by Stan­dard Char­tered and the de­lays ex­pe­ri­enced by Adani in re­ceipt of its pro­ject ap­provals, both par­ties have agreed to end the bank’s role in the Carmichael pro­ject,” the bank said in a state­ment.

The Com­mon­wealth Bank of Aus­tralia also last week said it had ended its fi­nan­cial ad­vi­sory role to Adani, while ma­jor Euro­pean and U.S. banks have re­fused to fund the pro­ject due to en­vi­ron­men­tal con­cerns.

Adani said it had “re­quested the ter­mi­na­tion of Stan­dard Char­tered’s fi­nan­cial ad­vi­sory role, on the ba­sis of Adani’s own con­cerns over on­go­ing de­lays to a now fiveyear-long ap­provals process in Aus­tralia”.

“In the event Aus­tralia’s fed­eral ap­provals frame­work is not fur­ther un­der­mined by ac­tivists seek­ing to ex­ploit le­gal loop­holes, en­abling the pro­ject and the thou­sands of jobs and bil­lions of dol­lars of in­vest­ment it would bring to be de­liv­ered, Adani would hap­pily work with the bank in fu­ture,” it said in a state­ment.

Ac­tivists have crit­i­cized the con­tro­ver­sial pro­ject, ar­gu­ing it could hurt marine life in the World Her­itage-listed Great Bar­rier Reef be­cause the coal would have to be shipped out of a nearby port.

Last week’s suc­cess­ful le­gal chal­lenge, which re­port­edly hinged on the vul­ner­a­ble sta­tus of two small rep­tiles, means ap­proval for the mine must now be re­con­sid­ered by Aus­tralian En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Greg Hunt.

Green­peace Aus­tralia Pa­cific wel­comed Stan­dard Char­tered’s state­ment and said the Adani pro­ject was a “mas­sive rep­u­ta­tional risk for even the world’s most pow­er­ful banks.”

Crit­ics have also said fall­ing coal prices was damp­en­ing in­ter­est in the de­vel­op­ment.

The mine was forecast to pro­duce 60 mil­lion tonnes of ther­mal coal a year for ex­port, pro­vid­ing elec­tric­ity for up to 100 mil­lion peo­ple in In­dia, and gen­er­at­ing thou­sands of Aus­tralian jobs.

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