Adani coal contractor asks Australian government for insurance help

MELBOURNE, May 13 (Reuters) - A rail contractor to Adani Enterprises Ltd’s giant Australian coal project has asked the government for help to obtain insurance that it has not been able to secure from markets, a submission to a parliamentary inquiry showed.

BMD Constructions Pty Ltd is building a section of a 210 km (130 mile) rail line that will service Adani’s controversial Carmichael mine in northern Queensland state, which is due to start operations later this year.

Global insurers, along with banks and other industries, have come under pressure from shareholders and climate activists to stop facilitating fossil fuel mining projects.

BMD, in a submission to an inquiry into regulation of investment in Australia’s export industries, said it has not been able to obtain public liability insurance, environmental protection insurance or director and officer insurance.

Its insurance broker had checked with 33 underwriters across the global insurance market but all had declined to provide public liability insurance for the project, it said.

Either, clients must absorb the risk or “governments (either state or federal) provide the necessary insurance from public funds to ensure the export industry is supported,” it said in its submission filed early this week.

Adani’s mine is slated to produce 10 million tonnes of thermal coal a year. Coal is Australia’s second largest export behind iron ore and worth A$38 billion ($29.4 billion) this financial year, according to government figures. ($1 = 1.2930 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Melanie Burton; editing by Richard Pullin)