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5 Nov 2023

Michael Pooler & Harry Dempsey, Financial Times

On 8th anniversary of disaster, Australian miner BHP aims to settle Fundão dam disaster

Wikimedia Commons

"BHP aims to settle over Brazil dam disaster", 5 November 2023

BHP, the world’s largest mining group, has said publicly for the first time that it wants to reach a final settlement over a dam disaster in Brazil worth potentially tens of billions of dollars of liabilities. [...] BHP’s vice-president for legal affairs for the Americas, Emir Calluf, told the Financial Times that it aimed to soon come to an agreement with public authorities in the South American nation. “The idea is to get a final deal in Brazil that settles everything,” said Calluf, adding that negotiations were “pretty advanced”. “If the right conditions were there and the legal certainty and releases, we would be willing to do a deal by the end of the year.” [...] Calluf said BHP hoped that a settlement with Brazilian prosecutors would cover all outstanding legal cases: “We believe that the London lawsuit is duplicating efforts in Brazil.” [...] Funding obligations fall on Samarco but, if it is unable to meet payments, then BHP and Vale are committed to step in. [...] “BHP’s role, as well as Vale’s, is to supplement resources that may be needed for the company to fulfil the terms of a settlement — which will certainly be the case here.” [...] Vale said in a statement [...] that renegotiation of the Mariana agreement was ongoing, with meetings scheduled throughout this month: “Given the complexity of the topic and the intention to seek definitive solutions, it is natural for conversations to be extended.”  The company stated its “commitment to repairing the damage caused by the collapse of the Fundão dam” and was providing support for Renova, through which more than 430,000 people have been compensated.

Part of the following timelines

Brazil: 5 years after the collapse of the Fundão dam operated by Samarco (Vale & BHP), that killed 20 and affected thousands, victims describe ongoing health & economic impacts

BHP & Vale lawsuit (re dam collapse in Brazil, filed in Brazil)

Brazil: After deadline closes, families affected by the Fundão dam collapse remain displaced and without compensation for their right to housing, says report; includes comments from Vale and BHP