Adani insiders previously claimed the Indian-led company had secured Chinese financial backing. (AAP)
Former foreign minister Bob Carr says he has been assured that no Chinese investors will help Adani’s controversial Carmichael coal mine in remote central Queensland.
Mr Carr has been lobbying Chinese organisations against the project on behalf of the Australian Conservation Foundation for the past three weeks.
Two large Chinese banks this week ruled out involvement in $21.7 billion mine, which is facing major financing hurdles after Australia’s major banks announced they would not be investing.
“There’s been a significant number of [Chinese] financial institutions and they’ve said, after looking at it, they’re not going to invest money into Adani,” Mr Carr said during a telephone interview from Shanghai.
Mr Carr declined to detail who or what institutions he had been speaking to in China about the project, nor at what level of seniority the various representatives were.
“I’ve been talking to both government and financial institutions at a level that makes me confident there will be no financial support for this project,” he said.
Last month Chinese media reported that officials from the country’s top economic planning body met Australia’s Trade Minister Steve Ciobo in Cairns, fuelling speculation that Chinese state banks could salvage the project.
In September, Mr Ciobo and the Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce wrote to the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) to vouch for Adani and to ‘welcome’ Chinese investment.
The ABC sent a list of questions to the NDRC about the possibility of Chinese funding for the coal mine but they went unanswered.
Opponents of the mining project last week claimed they had been assured by the Chinese embassy in Canberra that any lenders seeking to invest in it would need central government approval, and that no applications had been received.
This came after Adani insiders claimed the Indian-led company had secured Chinese financial backing.
“Environmental concerns are a matter of the highest priority [for China’s Government],” said Mr Carr, who also heads up the Australia-China Research Institute at UTS in Sydney.
“So they automatically respond to arguments about carbon emissions, and in addition they are astute enough to see in a flash how dubious the financial implications are.”
Adani has on numerous occasions pushed back the start date for the mine.
Adani previously claimed it would have finance in place by the end of this year and, later, said it expected to finalise finance by the end of the Indian fiscal year in March.