Indian mining giant Adani suffered yet another blow after an Australian bank pulled out of its role as financial adviser to the group's controversial 16 billion dollar coal mine project in central Queensland, a day after the federal court blocked the firm's coal mining project on environmental grounds.
Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), the country's largest lender, said it's advisory role has concluded. "As part of Adani's refocusing of the project on gaining the various outstanding approvals, the financial advisory mandate has ended," The Age quoted a bank spokesperson as saying.
No further details were given by the bank on the circumstances of its withdrawal but sources said the environmental controversy surrounding Carmichael Mine project and its financial risk in the face of tumbling coal prices had been concerns.
The exit of CBA comes on the heels of a court decision yesterday revoking the Australian government's environmental approval for the coal mine, one of the world's biggest under construction.
The court put development on hold due to a bureaucratic bungle involving yakka skink and ornamental snake.
Adani, which recently suspended work in a number of areas on the mine as it awaits government approval, said it was "inaccurate" to suggest CBA had walked away, insisting the group itself had terminated the mandate.
It had done so "on the basis of its own concerns over ongoing delays to a now five-year long approvals process here in Australia", he said.
"In the event the Commonwealth approvals framework is not further undermined by activists seeking to exploit legal loopholes - thus 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," the firm's spokesperson said.
Meanwhile, Australian Greens welcomed the Commonwealth Bank's decision to end its ties with Adani.
"Not only is it environmentally irresponsible to back Galilee Basin coal, it doesn't stack up economically," said Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens Deputy Leader and climate spokesperson.
"Eleven banks around the world have ruled out involvement in the Galilee Basin coal mines exporting through the Reef. With the US, China, Europe and India increasingly embracing renewables and the coal price in structural decline, pouring money into this dying industry doesn't make sense," she said.
Environmental groups had challenged the government's approval of the mine on the basis of the enormous amount of greenhouse gases it would create, its impact on vulnerable species and Adani's "poor environmental record".
They also have protested against its impact on the Great Barrier Reef, one of the world's most biodiverse marine areas, because of the coal would have to be shipped out of a nearby port, as well as the damage caused by climate change.