National Australia Bank says it will halt all lending for new thermal coal mining projects, becoming the first major Australian bank to phase out support of thermal coal mining.
While the bank will continue providing finance for coal projects already on its books, NAB said an orderly transition to a low-carbon Australia was critical for the economy and for continued access to secure and affordable energy.
“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 bank said in a statement on Thursday.
The news was welcomed by environmental groups. “This is a market-leading position for an Australian bank and is even stronger than the position taken by Commonwealth Bank last month because it is formal policy,” Greenpeace campaigner Jonathan Moylan said.
The Commonwealth Bank indicated to shareholders in November that it would not fund new, large coal projects, saying its support for coal would continue to decline as it helps finance the transition to a low-carbon economy.