Coal mining companies that apply to borrow money for the first time will be turned away by one of the nation’s largest financial institutions.
Westpac Banking Corporation has announced it has no plans to create new relationships with customers who need money to build thermal coal operations.
Climate change blamed
“We will not establish relationships with new thermal coal customers; limit support for thermal coal mines or projects to existing basins; and maintain strict quality criteria,” the company said in its Climate Change Position Statement and 2023 Action Plan.
“[We will] continue to support our existing thermal coal customers, managing our portfolio in line with a commitment to reduce our exposure to zero by 2030.”
The remarks came after Westpac ruled out lending money to Adani Australia for its $21 billion Carmichael Coal Project back in the year 2017.
Anti-mining activists celebrated the bank’s latest decision, saying the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group was now the only major bank that still intends to lend to coal producers.
“ANZ is now the only big four bank without a commitment to end lending to big coal,” the Australian Conservation Foundation said on Facebook.
“Westpac has announced they will stop all lending to big coal by 2030. In the meantime, they have committed to not taking on any new coal corporations as clients, and are limiting their support to existing coal mines.”
However, ANZ defended its support for coal mining, saying it had already indicated it would “significantly reduce” its exposure to thermal coal mining “over time”.
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Market Forces revealed Westpac has a $370 million exposure to coal fired power generation, National Australia Bank previously lent $720M to Coronado Global Resources, and all big four banks have lent a combined $425M to Whitehaven Coal according to the Australian Associated Press.