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30 Jul 2021


London Court of appeal agrees to reopen lawsuit against BHP over collapse of Fundao dam in Brazil

"London court reopens $7bn Brazil dam collapse lawsuit against BHP", 28 Jul 2021

...Lawyers for one of the largest group claims in English legal history have been pushing to resurrect the £5bn ($6.9bn) lawsuit against BHP since a lower court struck out the lawsuit as an abuse of process last year – and a court of appeal judge upheld that decision in March.

But in a highly unusual move, three appeal court judges on Tuesday reversed course and granted permission for an appeal, saying they believed it had a “real prospect of success”.

The collapse in 2015 of the Fundao dam, owned by the Samarco venture between BHP and Brazilian iron ore mining giant Vale, killed 19 and obliterated villages as a torrent of more than 40m cubic metres of mining waste swept into the Doce river and Atlantic Ocean over 650km (400 miles) away.

...Frederico de Assis Faria, attorney general of Brazil’s hard-hit district of Mariana, said victims now had “an opportunity for real justice” six years after the disaster.

BHP...has labelled the case pointless and wasteful, saying it duplicates proceedings in Brazil and the work of the Renova Foundation, an entity created by the company and its Brazilian partners to manage reparations and repairs.

“BHP’s position remains that the proceedings do not belong in the UK,” it said in a statement.

Contacted in Brazil, Vale declined comment.