Environment and Sustainability, Freight Rail

Adani loan dominates election debate, but China may step in

Chinese banks and state-owned enterprises are reportedly ready to finance Adani’s controversial Carmichael coal mine and railway project, as debate continues over a potential $1 billion loan from the Federal Government ahead of the Queensland election on Saturday.

Adani has remained a crucial talking point in the lead-up to the state election, with several key seats expected to hinge on the issue.

After supporting the project throughout much of 2017, the Palaszczuk Government just weeks ago vowed to veto any loan from the Commonwealth’s Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility. Opposition leader Tim Nicholls, meanwhile, has supported the project.

But debate over a Federal loan may be moot, with the news China may step in to give the Indian energy giant the money it needs to get the ball rolling on the massive Galilee Basin project.

The news would be bad for the project’s already shaky value-proposition for the Australian economy, however, with Chinese financial regulations requiring projects funded by Chinese banks to source much of their materials, where possible, from China.

If such a condition is put in place for a deal on Adani, that could cancel out a major chunk of the thousands of indirect jobs the Indian miner has said the Carmichael project will bring to Australia.

The ABC reported on Wednesday that a senior Adani Mining official had told industry figures the company was close to closing a deal with Chinese entities, and would no longer need a NAIF loan for its project.

The proposed NAIF loan was to help fund a 388-kilometre railway, linking the potentially 60 million tonnes per annum Carmichael mine with export terminals at Abbot Point.

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