Biggest Australian Business Lender to Stop New Coal Mine Funding

National Australia Bank Ltd. pledged to stop funding new thermal coal mine developments and boost lending to renewable energy projects as part of global efforts to tackle climate change.

“While we will continue to support our existing customers across the mining and energy sectors, including those with existing coal assets, NAB will no longer finance new thermal coal mining projects,” the nation’s largest business lender said in a statement on Thursday.

National Australia said it has created a A$200 million ($153 million) fund that lends money to existing renewable energy projects. It’s part of a new climate policy to be unveiled at the bank’s annual general meeting in Sydney on Friday, the Australian newspaper reported earlier.

Australia’s largest banks have been restricting lending to high carbon emitters as they face pressure from activists and shareholders to mitigate climate risks. They’ve ruled out financing Adani Enterprises Ltd.’s $16.5 billion thermal coal project in Queensland amid opposition from environmentalists who say it will increase carbon pollution and endanger the health of the Great Barrier Reef marine park in the state’s north.

National Australia has arranged A$6.2 billion in loans for renewable energy projects since 2003, the fifth largest globally, the bank said in a statement. Renewable energy capacity in Australia is expected to more than double by 2030 as coal generation declines, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

“We’re witnessing an emerging renewables economy,” said Mike Baird, the bank’s chief customer officer for its corporate and institutional arm. “We have seen tremendous growth in clean energy across our loan book.”

About BloombergNEF

BloombergNEF (BNEF) is a strategic research provider covering global commodity markets and the disruptive technologies driving the transition to a low-carbon economy. Our expert coverage assesses pathways for the power, transport, industry, buildings and agriculture sectors to adapt to the energy transition. We help commodity trading, corporate strategy, finance and policy professionals navigate change and generate opportunities.
Sign up for our free monthly newsletter →

Want to learn how we help our clients put it all together? Contact us