| SYDNEY, April 30
SYDNEY, April 30 Australian resources minister
Matt Canavan on Sunday did not rule out providing a A$1-billion
($748-million) government loan to India's Adani Enterprises
for its Carmichael coal project, saying it would help
create thousands of jobs.
Adani have submitted an application to the Australian
government's Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund for a cheap
loan to help fund a rail line into the untapped Galilee Basin,
where the Carmichael project is located.
The project would help create 16,000 jobs, said Canavan, who
is also the minister for northern Australia.
"This is about opening up a massive coal basin for
Australia," he told Sky News. "Without a rail line your coal is
stranded in the ground."
The Australian unit of Adani could not immediately be
reached for comment outside business hours.
Environmentalists have lobbied banks not to provide loans
and a number, including Germany's Deutsche Bank and
Commonwealth Bank of Australia, have stated they will
not participate in the project.
One of Australia's largest banks, Westpac,
published a new climate policy on Friday, which effectively
rules out funding for the Adani project.
Canavan labelled it a piece of propaganda, saying it was
unfortunate major Australian banks were prepared to cave to
activist pressure and did not want to help Australia grow.
Adani has battled opposition from some landowners and green
groups who are worried about the project’s carbon footprint and
its impact on the nearby Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.
Adani plans to make a final investment decision in May or
June on the project, which now targets annual output of 25
million tonnes in the first phase, down from an original plan of
40 million tonnes.
($1=1.3362 Australian dollars)
(Reporting by Harry Pearl; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)