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India’s top bank pulls its feet on coal billionaire Adani loan

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Coal Production at New World Resources Ltd. CSM Coal Mines.

Photography: Martin Divisek / Bloomberg

India’s largest bank has not decided whether to help finance an Australian coal mine following growing pressure from climate activists and investors, including BlackRock Inc.

Two elderly peopleState Bank of India executives, who asked not to be identified, said the bank was withdrawing its steps to extend part of a $ 1 billion financing line inAdani Enterprises Ltd., which plans to use the money for the controversial Carmichael mine. The bank’s executive committee, which will make the final decision, has had no discussions about the loan this year, officials said.

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The Carmichael mine has been at the center of environmental protests since it was proposed in 2010. SBI shareholders have joined the opposition.BlackRock and NorwayStorebrand ASA set them upobjections over the past year, andAmundi SA shifted its holdings of SBI green bonds due to the bank’s links to the Carmichael mine.

Greenpeace protesters target Blackrock Inc.  On Fossil Fuel Investments

Members of the Greenpeace group of environmental activists hold a banner reading ‘#StopAdani’ outside the offices of Blackrock Inc. in Frankfurt in February 2020.

Photography: Alex Kraus / Bloomberg

SBI Chairman Dinesh Kumar Khara, who took office in October, is reluctant to distribute funds to Adani given opposition to the Australian project, bank officials said. Still, no decision has been made about the loan yet, they said.

SBI shares rose 0.6% in Mumbai on Friday, the third best performer among peers in a 10-lender rating that was down 0.5%. Adani enterprises grew by 2.4%.

Adani said in a statement that the construction of the Carmichael Mines is “well under way and we are on track to export” coal in 2021. The company added that its mines and railways are fully funded.

Spokesmen for the SBI did not respond to emails requesting comments.

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