Big French banks rule out Galilee coal funding

Big French banks rule out Galilee coal funding

Three of France’s biggest banks have taken the unusual step of writing letters committing not to fund coal projects in Australia’s Galilee Basin, in a potential blow for the three big projects slated for the region.

Credit Agricole, Societe Generale and BNP Paribas made their pledges in response to petitioning from anti-coal activists. They were not approached for finance by coal miners with projects in the Galilee. The pledges allow the banks some leeway, in that they say they do not intend, or envisage, funding projects in the region.

Anti-coal activists have been in a race to get banks to rule out funding new fossil fuel projects – particularly in coal – before miners might try to approach them.

Indian conglomerate Adani Enterprises is planning a $16.5 billion coal mine project in the Galilee, and hopes to be producing coal by 2017.

“The company continues to progress the financing arrangements for its projects in Australia.”

The global fossil fuel divestment campaign is led in Australia by activist groups and Market Forces. While it has had success offshore, the movement is having a hard time convincing Australia’s Big Four banks to divest fossil fuel holdings or to shun the financing of new projects.

Last month, three of the Big Four banks piled into a $1.4 billion refinancing of Whitehaven Coal’s debt.

Source: The Sidney Morning Herald

Date: April 2015

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