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Key Rail Player Pulls Out of Adani’s Australian Coal Project

February 09, 2018

Financial Times:

Australia’s largest rail freight operator withdrew an application for a A$1bn (US$777m) state-backed loan on Friday to build a rail line to support development of the Galilee Basin, one of the world’s largest untapped coal reserves.

The decision by Aurizon represents another setback to Indian mining groups, Adani and GVK Hancock, which are seeking financial backing to push ahead with developing coal mines in the basin. The freight operator said it was withdrawing its loan application to the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF), a government body, as it was unable to agree a contract with the miners. 

“Our NAIF application is, in part, predicated on having customer contracts secured. Given this is unlikely to occur in the near future we believe it is prudent to withdraw the NAIF application,” said Andrew Harding, Aurizon managing director and chief executive.

“If market circumstances change and our discussions with potential customers progress to commercial arrangements we will look at all possible financing arrangements to develop the rail solution,” he said.

Development of the Galilee Basin, along with the tar sands in Canada, one of the largest remaining deposits of oil in the world, are seen by environmental activists as key battlegrounds in the fight to phase out fossil fuels and limit global warming.

“This is a blow to Adani as it can’t move its coal to the port to be exported without building and financing the 400km rail line,” said Tim Buckley, director at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, who opposes the mines.

More ($): Adani coal mine hits railway barrier 

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