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24 Jul 2020

Kirstin Ridley & Zandi Shabalala, Reuters

BHP asks UK court to dismiss class-action lawsuit over the 2015 Samarco dam failure, citing existing Brazilian compensation scheme

"BHP labels $6.3 billion UK case over Brazil dam failure pointless", 22 July 2020.

Anglo-Australian miner BHP dismissed as pointless and wasteful a 5 billion pound ($6.3 billion) English lawsuit by 200,000 Brazilian people and groups over the 2015 collapse of a dam that triggered Brazil’s worst environmental disaster. Kicking off an eight-day hearing...BHP...called for the record group action to be struck out or suspended, alleging it duplicated Brazilian proceedings and victims were already receiving redress...Charles Gibson, a lawyer for BHP, told the court Brazil had a sophisticated and fair justice system that provided access to timely justice...

The collapse of the Fundao dam, which stored mining waste and is owned by the Samarco joint venture between BHP and Brazilian iron ore mining giant Vale...killed 19 and poured roughly 40 million cubic metres of mining waste into communities, the Rio Doce river and Atlantic Ocean, 650 km away...

BHP says the Renova Foundation, a redress scheme established in 2016 by its Brazilian division, Samarco and Vale, has spent around 1.3 billion pounds on projects such as monthly financial aid to about 130 indigenous Krenak families, rebuilding three villages and establishing alternative water supply systems. It also alleges almost 100,000 of the claimants have already received payments from Renova and only 58 of the individuals, businesses, municipalities, churches, utility companies and indigenous people bringing the claim in England are not part of Brazilian class actions.

Claimants allege it is wrong to suggest victims are entitled to full redress in Brazil because Renova lacks independence and its compensation scheme is slow, bureaucratic, inadequate and has not properly involved victims in decision-making...

Part of the following timelines

UK: BHP faces £5bn lawsuit over Samarco dam collapse

BHP lawsuit (re dam collapse in Brazil, filed in the UK)