Located in central Queensland, the Galilee Basin is home to one of the largest known coal reserves on the planet. Until now, the estimated 27 billion tonne store has remained untapped, but plans to open it up to coal mining are underway. The most advanced of these plans is Adani’s Carmichael project.
In 2015 NAB said they had no plans to provide any finance for Adani’s proposed Carmichael coal mine. Westpac’s 2017 climate policy update also ruled out its involvement in any Galilee coal mining plans. CommBank and ANZ have been a bit more cryptic, but both have made public statements that take them out of the running as potential funders of Adani’s plans.
Another big funding threat came from our own federal government’s Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF). It was considering a billion dollar concessional loan to help Adani rip up the Galilee until Qld Premier Palaszczuk bowed to public pressure and vetoed the proposed loan in late 2017.
Adani has continued its struggle to secure finance for its project. However in September 2018 it suddenly announced a new rail plan that will ‘fast-track’ and halve the cost of building the $2billion rail line it needs to get its coal from the Galilee to its Abbot Point coal port. This is a major and worrying step forward.
If realised, the Galilee coal plans spell disaster for the climate, local environment and farmlands and Great Barrier Reef, as well as the cultural heritage of the region’s traditional owners, the Wangan and Jagalingou people. Find out more about the specific dangers in the sections below.
Role of finance
The two largest of the Galilee mine proposals are Adani’s $16.5 billion Carmichael and GVK Hancock’s $10 billion Alpha projects. Projects of that magnitude require billions of dollars in upfront capital to get off the ground and continue operating, and the companies turn to commercial banks, governments and export credit agencies to provide this finance as loans.
Australia’s big banks are vital supporters of fossil fuel projects, having loaned a combined $70 billion to the industry since 2008. Of this, $50 billion has gone to projects and companies within Australia. Find out more at our bank campaign page, or check out our bank comparison table to see where your bank stands on the issue.
We’re calling on Australia’s big banks to end their support for fossil fuels, and you can join the campaign by adding your name to our open letter. If you are a customer of ANZ, CommBank, NAB or Westpac, you can also put your bank on notice by completing the form on this page, letting them know if they choose fossil fuels, you’ll choose another bank.