Indian mining giant Adani is close to securing loans from China to build a 388-km railway in Queensland for its controversy-hit $16.5 billion Carmichael coal mine project, a media report said on Wednesday.
According to the report, days ago, a director of Adani Mining, an Australian subsidiary of the Adani Group's flagship company Adani Enterprises, told industry figures that the company had secured Chinese funding for the mine and the rail project between Abbot Point and Galilee basin in Queensland.
"Adani Group is close to securing finance with an announcement expected in coming weeks that Chinese state-owned enterprises, banks, and export credit agencies are backing the venture," the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reported.
The company, however, rejected the claim in a statement saying, "There have been incorrect reports in the media this morning stating that Adani is no longer seeking a loan from the NAIF".
It said that Adani has not sought to become a subject of contention in the current Queensland election campaign and that it has held productive meetings with a wide-range of financiers for the Carmichael Mine and associated infrastructure.
The ABC report claimed the director had said that Adani would not need the loan from the Northern Australian Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) to fund the 388-kilometre railway.
It claimed a formal announcement of "financial close" was imminent and that "China's money will come at the cost of local jobs".
"However, this does not negate the need for support from the Federal and State governments including a NAIF loan every cent of which will be repaid by Adani with interest," the company said.
"The purpose of NAIF is to provide loans for economic infrastructure and, again, every cent of this loan will be repaid with interest. The infrastructure Adani is building will be common user infrastructure and will be able to be used by other projects creating opportunities for further jobs and investment," it said.
The company reiterated its commitment to Queenslanders, particularly regional Queenslanders which it said remained "rock solid".
"Unlike some who are reducing their presence in regional centres, Adani will never tradeoff local jobs for short-term benefit. In fact, Adani's regionalisation strategy has cost the company money, not saved money," the company said.
Meanwhile, protesters opposing the project continued to stop the construction work by trying to occupy Adani's Townville office.
Last month, it was revealed that Australian federal ministers had written a formal letter to the Chinese government to confirm that the controversial coal project had passed all necessary environmental approvals.
Adani and the Queensland government have highlighted that the mine, which after its completion will be Australia's largest coal mine, will prove beneficial for the region.
Adani has claimed the massive project will create 10,000 direct and indirect jobs in central Queensland.
The company, which has managed to clear 200 stringent conditions for the project and several legal challenges from environmental groups, is aiming to start exporting coal via its Abbot Point coal terminal in 2020.