New Delhi could now back Indian conglomerate Adani Enterprises' delayed $15bn Australian coal venture.
Adani's billionaire founder Gautam Adani said on 17 November his firm had won support from the State Bank of India (SBI) and an Australian state to help it build a coal mine, part of a project that intends to move coal 400 kms by rail to ships located off Australia's east coast.
Adani has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for a loan of up to $1bn (£636m, €798m) from the SBI for the mine, rail and port project in Queensland. State-controlled SBI is India's largest bank by assets.
The company also won a commitment from the Queensland government, which will take short-term, minority stakes in the rail and port infrastructure needed to transport and export the massive coal reserves in the untapped Galilee Basin from the Abbot Point port.
Adani is also eyeing A$1.2bn to A$1.5bn in funding from South Korea's export credit agencies, alongside a loan from the US Export-Import Bank to execute the project.
Adani aims to reach a final investment decision on the Carmichael project in late 2015.
Gautam Adani, who has close ties with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, said in a statement. "The MOU with SBI is a significant milestone in the development of our Carmichael mine."
Adani Mining CEO Jeyakumar Janakaraj told Reuters: "People have been very sceptical about the financing of this project. As we always said, we'll keep getting this, one by one. The pieces are falling in place."
In late October, Adani hired US-based engineering and design firm Parsons Brinckerhoff to handle contract reviews for the planned Australian coal project.
Adani said Parsons will provide quality control and audit services for engineering, procurement and construction contracts, indicating that Gautam was determined to push ahead with a mine he had aimed to open this year.
The Carmichael project in central Queensland, already four years behind schedule, aims to excavate and transport some 60 million tonnes of coal a year for export.
Shipments are expected to help fuel India's coal starved power plants.